U.S. stocks open higher with Fed statement in focus; Dow Jones up 0.37%

U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday, as investors were awaiting the Federal Reserve's highly anticipated policy statement, due to be released later in the trading session.

During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 rose 0.37%, the S&P 500 added 0.28%, while the Nasdaq climbed 0.44%.

Investors were eyeing the upcoming minutes of the Fed's March meeting, after last week’s U.S. payrolls report came in slightly below expectations.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said recently that slack in labor markets showed accommodative policies will still be needed for some time.

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) surged 4.51% after the aluminum producer reported quarterly earnings that beat analysts' expectations late Tuesday, but said revenue narrowly missed estimates.

In the financial sector, U.S. regulators adopted supplemental leverage ratio rules on Tuesday forcing the biggest U.S. bank holding companies to round up as much as $68 billion more in loss-absorbing capital.

Eight lenders, including JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) face greater restrictions on borrowing power than their overseas competitors. Shares in JPMorgan were up 0.53% at the open of the U.S. trading session, while Bank of America rose 0.36%.

Separately, Bank of America said it would be exiting operations in Costa Rica, Guadalajara, Mexico and Taguig, Philippines, without saying how many jobs would be lost.

The decision came shortly after Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) said it was cutting 1,500 out of 2,500 jobs in Costa Rica. Following the news, Intel shares dropped 0.37%.

Other stocks likely to be in focus included Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) and MSC Industrial Direct Company (MSM), scheduled to report earnings reports later in the day.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 gained 0.53%, France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.60%, Germany's DAX rose 0.35%, while Britain's FTSE 100 advanced 0.85%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.09%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 plummeted 2.10%.