Wall Street sags as markets await Fed decision

VIDEO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stumbled and slid into the red on Tuesday (Oct 29) as investors retreated before the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision on Wednesday.

The decline came in a choppy day of trading as markets digested the latest batch of earnings results, including blue-chip stocks like Pfizer and General Motors.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1 percent to finish at 27,071.46, while the S&P 500, which on Monday hit a new all-time high, dipped a similar amount to end at 3,036.89.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq sank 0.6 per cent to close at 8,276.85.

Chris Low of FTN Financial told AFP that "sleepy day" was not unusual in the shadow of a Fed announcement.

Markets widely expect the Fed to deliver its third straight rate cut but are looking for clues about what policymakers expect to do at the next meeting in December and beyond.

"Does the Fed chair try to rule out further rate cuts or leave the door open?" Low wondered.

"There has been a lot of hints from other Fed presidents that the message might be they've done enough and it's time to wait and see."

In Washington, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg faced a grilling from lawmakers on Capitol Hill who demanded answers about the company's conduct prior to two deadly recent crashes.

He apologised for the crashes but defended the company's actions in developing the 737 Max aircraft, which has been grounded worldwide for seven months.

Boeing's shares price rose 2.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, drug maker and Dow member Pfizer jumped 2.5 per cent after the company raised its profit forecast and posted better-than-expected earnings.

GM soared 4.3 per cent after likewise topping earnings expectations but cutting its full-year forecast.