Wall St. little changed ahead of Fed's policy meeting

Javier Stokes
September 20, 2017

On Friday, the benchmark S&P 500 index closed at a record high, hitting the 2,500 level for the first time, largely helped by a rebound in technology stocks.

The healthcare index.SPXHC was one of the biggest laggards amid declines in insurers such as United Health (UNH.N), which fell 1.9 percent due to the latest efforts in Washington to overhaul Obamacare.

TOKYO: Asian shares slipped on Tuesday, hobbled by uncertainty as traders awaited a Federal Reserve meeting for clues on USA monetary policy.

While a September interest rate increase is not expected, investors will closely watch Fed Chair Janet Yellen's views on inflation, as they look for clues on whether or not the Fed will raise rates in December.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing an unexpected decrease in new residential construction in the month of August.

The Dow Jones added 50 at 22,381, while the tech heavy Nasdaq index gained 9.49 at 6,464, while S&P 500 added 3.49 at 2,507.

On the data front, USA housing starts totaled 1.18 million in July, slightly above the expected 1.175 million.

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Shares of Kohl's climbed, up 2.2 percent as of 2.09pm in NY, after the department store operator it will offer free returns for Amazon customers starting in October. It is widely expected from the Federal Reserve's sixth meet of this year that it may announce paring its $4.2 trillion balance sheet, with the reductions likely to start this year. Export prices had been expected to edge up by 0.2 percent. Germany's DAX Index eked out a 0.02 percent gain, France's CAC 40 Index added 0.2 percent, while the UK's FTSE 100 Index rose 0.3 percent.

Sprint (S) and T-Mobile (TMUS) posted standout gains following a report from CNBC that the companies are in active talks about a merger. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 11.55 points, or 0.18 percent, to 6,460.02.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Tuesday.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added almost 2.0 per cent to finish at 20,299.38, coming off a national holiday on Monday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell almost 0.4 per cent to 28,051.41, while the Shanghai Composite dipped 0.2 per cent to 3,356.84.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 2.238%.

The choppy trading on Wall Street comes as traders are waiting on the Fed's monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

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