New York, Sep 15 (IANS) The US stocks closed lower on Monday as investors remained cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s key policy meeting.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 62.13 points, or 0. 38 percent, to 16,370.96. The S&P 500 lost 8.02 points, or 0.41 percent, to 1,953.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index edged down 16.58 points, or 0.34 percent, to 4,805.76, Xinhua news agency reported.
With no major economic data due out Monday, Wall Street remains focused on the Fed ahead of its two-day policy meeting starting on Wednesday, in which the US central bank may raise interest rates for the first time in more than nine years.
Wall Street economists are split on whether the Fed will raise rates on Thursday, with a small majority forecasting no rate rise in the meeting, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“We expect a hike because the Fed’s forward guidance conditions have been met. In addition, speeches, interviews and testimony suggest an overwhelming majority of FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) voters favour a hike,” chief economist at FTN Financial Chris Low said in a note.
Uncertainty about the Fed’s decision whether or not to hike rates in its two-day policy meeting has been contributing to recent volatility in the market.
Overseas, Chinese shares continued to head south on Monday after weak economic data released over the weekend, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dipping 2.67 percent.
On Friday, the US stocks pared early losses to end higher as investors pondered over economic reports.
In other markets, oil prices dropped Monday as global stock markets went low.
The West Texas Intermediate for October delivery moved down 63 cents to settle at $44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for October delivery decreased $1.77 to close at $46.37 a barrel on the London ICE Future Exchange.
The US dollar decreased against most major currencies as investors lowered expectation on an interest-rate hike ahead of the Federal Reserve’s meeting scheduled later this week.
In late New York trading, the euro dropped to $1.1315 from $1.1336 in the previous session, while the dollar bought 120.07 Japanese yen, lower than 120.55 yen of the previous session.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange closed higher amid weaker global stocks ahead of the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting starting Wednesday.
The most active gold contract for December delivery gained $4.4, or 0.40 percent, to settle at $1,107.70 per ounce.