A look at the day's business news headlines:
Stocks falter on questions about Fed stimulus
Stocks closed mixed Wednesday, with technology shares posting small gains, as investors lowered their expectations for an aggressive move by the Federal Reserve to stimulate the economy.
After falling over 130 points earlier in the day, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 43 points, or 0.4 percent. The S&P 500 slid 3 points, or 0.3 percent. But the Nasdaq (COMP) gained 6 points, or 0.2 percent, to close above 2,500 points.
Stocks had been climbing for weeks on speculation that the U.S. central bank will announce another round of asset purchases at the end of its next policy meeting on November 3. But investors said the market may have over estimated the size and timing of the expected policy, known as quantitative easing.
Oil prices slide on Fed concerns
Oil prices fell 1.5 percent Wednesday, following three consecutive days of advances, remaining in the low-$80 range ahead of the Federal Reserve's highly anticipated policy meeting next week.
Propped by a weakening dollar, oil prices have spiked more than 8 percent since late August, when the Fed first hinted that it may launch a second round of asset purchases.
Most of the gains were logged in September, and prices have hovered around $82 per barrel this month as investors took a wait-and-see approach leading up to the central bank's announcement, expected at the conclusion of its two-day meeting November 3.
Oil prices came under some pressure Wednesday after a report in the Wall Street Journal said the central bank is likely to buy "a few hundred million" worth of Treasuries over a period of "several months" to pressure interest rates and pump money into the economy. That's far less than market expectations, which have priced in an amount between $500 million and $1 trillion.
– CNNMoney.com reporters Ben Rooney and Hibah Yousuf contributed to this report.