Wall Street declined on Tuesday as investors avoided big bets before the results of a Federal Reserve meeting that could give some clarity on their monthly bond-buying programme today.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell nine points, or 0.06%, to close at 15,875. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined six points, or 0.31%, to finish at 1,781. The Nasdaq Composite Index also fell six points, or 0.14%, to end at 4,024.
The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee is likely to issue a statement on Wednesday at the meeting's conclusion. While the Fed isn't expected to start winding down its purchases of $85 billion a month in bonds until March, recent upbeat economic data increased the odds that tapering could occur sooner.
In economic data, US consumer prices were flat in November, but the annual inflation rate rebounded from a four-year low that will probably give the Fed some room to start the tapering. Separate data showed the US current account deficit was the smallest in four years in the third quarter.
In corporate news, KKR Financial Holdings (KFN.N) surged 30.6% a day after KKR & Co (KKR.N) said it would acquire the company for $2.6 billion. KKR slid 1.2%.
Facebook (FB.O) rose 2% after the Wall Street Journal reported that the social network would begin selling video ads later this week.
Shares of 3M (MMM.N) climbed 2.9% after the Dow component affirmed its outlook and raised its dividend.
Boeing's (BA.N) board raised the company's dividend about 50% on Monday and approved $10 billion in new stock-buyback authority. Boeing's stock gained 0.9%.
AT&T (T.N) said it would offload its wireline operations in Connecticut to Frontier Communications (FTR.O) for $2 billion in cash, partly to fund the expansion of its 4G network. Frontier's stock jumped 8.6%, while AT&T fell 0.9%.
Jabil Circuit (JBL.N) declined 4.8% in extended-hours trading after the company reported its second-quarter results.
Tenet Healthcare Corp. fell 1.9% to pace declines among hospital stocks as Citigroup Inc. said the industry’s November admissions were the “weakest” ever. HCA Holdings Inc., the largest for-profit US hospital chain, slipped 3.5%.
In Asia, shares increased on Wednesday in late morning trade as investors await the Fed decision on its monthly stimulus programme.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4% to 138 as of 9:50 a.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix index rose 0.8% and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 1.3%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.1%. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slipped 0.8% and South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.3%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was little changed and China’s Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1%. Singapore’s Straits Times Index slipped 0.1% and Taiwan’s Taiex Index gained 0.1%.