Germany ruling, Fed news lift stocks

Traders work on the floor of the New

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. On the horizon for markets is Thursday's decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve on whether to back another monetary stimulus. (Sept. 11, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

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The markets edged higher yesterday after a court cleared the way for Germany to participate in a European rescue fund.

Attention shifted to the Federal Reserve, which began a big two-day meeting.

The highest court in Germany ruled that the country could contribute to Europe's $640 billion rescue fund to help indebted nations. The ruling offered investors relief, but not much more.

The issue was "more speed bump than hurdle," Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at the brokerage BTIG, told clients. "More legislative and political challenges lay ahead."

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 9.99 points to close at 13,333.35, a four-year closing high. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 0.21 percent to 1,436.56, close to a four-year high. The Nasdaq composite index was up 0.32 percent to 3,114.31. When the Fed meets today, investors and economists expect it to announce new steps to stimulate economic growth.

Many investors are banking that the Fed will commit to buying more bonds and extend its pledge to keep short-term interest rates near zero until 2015. The Fed previously offered to keep them there until late 2014.

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