Dec. 17 - Summary: Investors were wary of making big bets ahead of Wednesday's Fed policy meeting conclusion; Facebook to test video ads; Tech execs chat up Obama on NSA. Fred Katayama reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Stocks closed flat as investors were wary of making big bets before the end of the Fed's two-day policy meeting Wednesday. A rebound in the annual inflation rate and a pickup in homebuilder confidence could give the Fed cover to start tapering its stimulus earlier than March. Both the Dow and Nasdaq finished just slightly below where they began the day. Facebook got a lift after it said it would start testing video ads in news feeds on Thursday. Oppenheimer raised its price target on the stock. In Washington, top executives from Facebook, Google, and other high tech giants met with President Obama to discuss the troubled healthcare.gov website and their request that the government curb its massive surveillance programs. Back on Wall Street, fans of buybacks and dividends plowed into stocks of Post-it producer 3M and jet maker Boeing. Both upped their payouts and unveiled new buyback plans. Printer maker HP shot up on a ratings upgrade. JP Morgan predicts the decline of printing demand will level off. The maker of the robot vacuum cleaner, Roomba, zoomed higher. Raymond James raised its rating on IRobot. But AT&T fell. The phone company said it's selling its landline business in Connecticut to phone operator Frontier Communications. Frontier's stock rocketed higher. In Europe, stocks resumed their downward slide on worries that the Fed would act soon.