Stocks are up slightly today, but generally flat as investors wait for comments from the latest Federal Reserve meeting. A new round of quantitative easing is on the table, and the markets are clamoring for more. 

After Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's recent comments, it appears the Fed is willing to act, but it would prefer to wait for clear slowdown or a significant worsening in Europe before firing off one of the Fed's few remaining bullets. Overall sentiment has turned more bearish, as the manufacturing sector contracted again, but by a smaller amount than last month, and at the same time probably not enough to spur Fed action. When the Fed reveals its current course of action, expect stocks to start moving.

That said, let's take a closer look at how the three major indexes are faring and several stocks making headlines.

Index

Gain/Loss

Gain/Loss %

Intraday Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) 43.82 0.34% 13,052.50
Nasdaq 2.55 0.09% 2,942.07
S&P 500 3.80 0.28% 1,383.12

Source: Yahoo! Finance as of 11:00 a.m. EDT.

The Dow's outperformance over the Nasdaq and S&P 500 is largely due to the fact that only seven of its 30 components are down, and of those seven, only a couple carry much weight inside the index. Notable gainers include DuPont, up 1.6% after declaring another $0.43 dividend for the third quarter, and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), still basking in the glow of its exceptional quarter that saw not only analyst-beating results but also year-over-year improvement despite losing Lipitor to generic competition.

On the Nasdaq, the competition continues to heat up for Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) as Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) has begun offering its Instant Video service for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad. Currently the iPad is the only iOS device in play, but like Amazon's ubiquitous Kindle app, Instant Video should spread across the product range and onto competing mobile platforms as well. Not only is this a direct threat to Netflix, but it also challenges iTunes as far as renting or buying, plus Amazon Prime members can stream 20,000 videos for free. Netflix is down 2.3% on the news while Amazon and Apple are essentially flat.

With the impending release of the iPhone 5 and Apple TV on the horizon, the stakes have never been higher for the company. If you're looking for a recommendation on how to play Apple along with continuing updates and guidance on the company whenever news breaks, we've created a brand-new report that details when to buy and sell Apple. To get started, just click here now.

David Williamson owns shares of Pfizer, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Netflix, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Netflix, Amazon.com, and Pfizer. Motley Fool newsletter services have also recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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