* U.S. Fed sees 2 rate hikes in 2016
* FedEx soars after raising forecast
* Dow up 0.36 pct, S&P up 0.18 pct, Nasdaq down 0.18 pct (Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 17 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow edged up on Thursday as a rise in crude oil lifted the materials and energy stocks, a day after the Federal Reserve’s lowered projection of two interest rate hikes in 2016 pushed the S&P to its highest close this year.
The Fed, which left rates unchanged, pointed to moderate U.S. economic growth and strong job gains but cautioned about risks from an uncertain global economy. The central bank had laid out four hikes in 2016 when it raised rates in December.
While markets across assets cheered the move, the central bank’s dovish tone raised some concerns about the prospects of the weakness in the global economy impacting the U.S. economy.
Crude prices rose as the dollar weakened and the market pinned its hopes on a plan by major oil producers to freeze output to mitigate a global glut.
“The market is trying to digest exactly what’s going on with the Fed,” said John Burke, chief executive of Burke Financial Strategies in Iselin, New Jersey.
Burke said the market was assessing the impact of the rising oil prices on the economy and the Fed’s moves.
“Two patterns are clear (today) - that healthcare stocks are lagging and crude oil is leading - everything else in between, we’re all trying to sort it out.”
At 10:53 a.m. ET (1453 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 62.87 points, or 0.36 percent, at 17,388.63, the S&P 500 was up 3.7 points, or 0.18 percent, at 2,030.92 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 8.48 points, or 0.18 percent, at 4,755.49.
The S&P healthcare sector fell 1.51 percent, while materials gained 1.46 percent.
Shares of Eli Lilly were down 4 percent at $69.57 and were the biggest drag on the healthcare sector, while Lyondellbasel’s 2.7 percent rise to $88.64 propped up the materials sector.
Endo International was down 8 percent at $31.11, hitting a near three-year low, after the drugmaker forecast first-quarter results below estimates.
FedEx was up 8.4 percent at $156.34 after the package delivery company forecast better-than-expected full-year earnings. The stock gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500.
Office Depot was up 5 percent at $5.53 after a New York Post report that Amazon could be eyeing a stake in the office supplies retailer’s corporate business unit. Amazon was down 2.1 percent and weighed the most on the Nasdaq.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,028 to 825. On the Nasdaq, 1,354 issues rose and 1,220 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 42 new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 43 new highs and 62 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)