Stocks opened lower on Wednesday as investors were cautious about the direction the Federal Reserve would take to deal with renewed weakness in the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 49.57 points, or 0.41 percent, at 12,140.44. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dipped 4.99 points, or 0.39 percent, at 1,290.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> took off 10.39 points, or 0.39 percent, at 2,676.87.

The U.S. Fed is holding a policy meeting Wednesday, followed by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's news conference. A statement from the Federal Open Market Committee is due at 12:30 p.m. EDT, with Bernanke's press conference at 2:15 p.m. EDT.

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica)