NEW YORK - An early advance in stocks stalled yesterday as the Federal Reserve reminded investors that it would start to wean the economy from an array of emergency supports next year.
Investors knew several of the programs would be dismantled in 2010, but the added detail about the Fed's plans as well as lingering concerns about inflation tugged at the market. Stocks finished little changed.
The prospect of an eventual increase in interest rates and an improving economy injected strength into the dollar, which has generally been declining for about nine months. A rising dollar can weigh on stocks because it cuts into the profits of companies that do business overseas.
Most stocks rose for the day, though the Dow Jones industrials slipped 10 points. Broader indexes gained, but ended off their highs for the day.
The modest moves came as the Fed said it would leave interest rates near zero, as expected, but officials also noted that weakness in the job market was "abating." Fed governors made the assessment after a two-day meeting on interest rates.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 10.88, or 0.10 percent, to 10,441.12.
The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.25, or 0.11 percent, to 1,109.18. It is up 22.8 percent for the year. The Nasdaq composite index rose 5.86, or 0.27 percent, to 2,206.91.
Bond prices mostly fell, pushing yields higher, after the Fed's more upbeat assessment of the economy. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was flat at 3.6 percent from late Tuesday.
The dollar pared an early slide after the Fed said it would begin to wrap up some of its emergency measures. Gold climbed, while crude oil rose on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank in Cleveland, said a drop in layoffs in November gave the Fed more room to discuss dousing any signs of inflation by cutting off some of the money it is pumping into the economy.
"It marks the time when their emphasis is going to have to be a little more balanced between unemployment and inflation," he said.
Meanwhile, Intel Corp. was the biggest decliner among the 30 stocks that make up the Dow industrials after the Federal Trade Commission accused the chip-maker in a lawsuit of using tactics to snuff out competition. Intel fell 42 cents, or 2.12 percent, to $19.38.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 4.90, or 0.81 percent, to 611.21.