US STOCKS-Wall St higher 30 minutes ahead of Fed decision
* Fed announcement expected at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT)
* Yellen speaks half an hour later
* U.S. fund futures see 25 pct chance of hike on Thursday
* Indexes up: Dow 0.27 pct, S&P 0.32 pct, Nasdaq 0.49 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal
Sept 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were higher in thin afternoon trading on Thursday, with investors hanging fire half an hour ahead of the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision.
The Fed will announce the outcome of its policy meeting and release its latest economic projections at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT), followed by a news conference by Chair Janet Yellen at 2:30 p.m.
An increase in the Fed's benchmark rate, which has been held near zero since the depths of the financial crisis in December 2008, would be the first since 2006.
A hike is far from certain. U.S. interest rates futures indicated a 25 percent chance the central bank will raise rates on Thursday, while 35 of 80 economists polled by Reuters earlier this week said they expected a move. Continuación...