US stock futures mixed in light trading with attention on the Fed

  • Updated: July 31, 2013 - 8:05 AM

NEW YORK — Stock futures were mixed in very light trading Wednesday with most investors in a holding pattern ahead of a statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Dow Jones industrial futures fell 13 points to 15,480. S&P futures rose 0.30 points to 1,685. Nasdaq futures rose 1.75 points to 3,087.25.

Also on Wednesday, the payroll company ADP said companies hired in July at the fastest pace since December. On top of the 200,000 jobs that ADP said U.S. businesses created this month, the company revised its estimate of the number of jobs higher in June, from 188,000 to 198,000.

ADP's survey has diverged in the past from U.S. employment reports, which are more comprehensive. The Labor Department releases its employment report for July on Friday.

Economists expect the U.S. to report 180,000 new jobs.

There were other signs of an economy on the mend Wednesday.

The U.S. reported economic growth of 1.7 percent rate in second quarter as businesses stepped up spending.

There's very little expectation that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will signal any change Wednesday in monetary policies that have kept U.S. interest rates at historic lows.

But as his statement last month proved, U.S. markets are easily spooked right now. Investors fled the market after Bernanke suggested that the Fed might slow its bond purchases later this year if the economy had improved.

The Fed will release at statement at 2:15 p.m. Eastern.

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