* Fed statement at 2 pm ET
* Core CPI beats expectations
* Indexes up: Dow 0.07 pct, S&P 0.07 pct, Nasdaq 0.22 pct (Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 16 (Reuters) - Wall Street was little changed on Wednesday morning as investors waited on the sidelines for the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting on monetary policy.
While the central bank is expected to leave interest rates unchanged, investors will keep a close eye on its commentary for clues on the path of future hikes.
Economists polled by Reuters are looking at two possible rate hikes in 2016, but financial markets are pricing in only one hike of 25 basis points.
“We are treading water,” said Kim Forrest, research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh. “Everyone’s waiting for the language to come out from the Fed.”
Global markets dipped, and the dollar rose, ahead of the Fed’s statement, which is expected at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT). Fed Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m.
At 11:05 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 11.3 points, or 0.07 percent, at 17,262.83, the S&P 500 was up 1.41 points, or 0.07 percent, at 2,017.34 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 10.45 points, or 0.22 percent, at 4,739.11.
Data released on Wednesday appeared to bolster the Fed’s case that the economy was strong enough to withstand a gradual increase in rates in 2016.
Underlying U.S. inflation increased more than expected in February, while the housing market continuing to strengthen, increasing chances of a rate hike in June.
A continued recovery in financial markets from a steep selloff earlier in the year and steadying commodity prices could also nudge the Fed towards a rate hike soon.
Six of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher. Gains in energy and financials were capped by losses in utilities and consumer staples sectors.
The S&P energy sector was up 0.69 percent, as crude rose more than 3 percent after major producers agreed to meet next month to discuss freezing output.
In U.S. corporate news, shares of Oracle were up 4.1 percent at $40.32 after the enterprise software company’s quarterly profit beat estimates.
Chipotle Mexican Grill was down 2 percent at $492.80 after warning that it will post its first quarterly loss as a public company.
LinkedIn was down 5.3 percent at $109.49 and Gap fell 2.7 percent to $28.94 after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stocks.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals was up 4.7 percent at $35.11, after falling 52 percent on Tuesday when the Canadian drugmaker warned of a debt default.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,886 to 950. On the Nasdaq, 1,569 issues rose and 962 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed four new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 21 new highs and 28 lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)