US stocks drop ahead of Fed policy decision

US stocks Wednesday opened sharply lower ahead of a widely watched policy decision by the US Federal Reserve on continuing to trim stimulus.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 138.57 points (0.87 percent) to 15,789.99

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 13.81 (0.77 percent) to 1,778.69, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 35.04 (0.85 percent) to 4,062.93.

The losses came ahead of the conclusion of the Fed's Federal Open Market Committee meeting that is overwhelmingly expected to trim another $10 billion from the Fed's bond-buying program.

The post-meeting FOMC statement is expected around 2:00 pm (1900 GMT).

The Fed in December announced plans to begin scaling back the program. Most analysts believe the Fed will stay the course in spite of recent turbulence in global markets prompted in part by the unwinding of the Fed program.