Wall St little changed ahead of Fed's policy meeting

Wall St little changed ahead of Fed's policy meeting

Wall St little changed ahead of Fed's policy meeting

US stocks opened slightly higher on Tuesday, with the Dow hitting another record, ahead of the two-day Federal Reserve meeting that is expected to roll out a plan to pare the central bank's bond holdings.

US stocks have been breaching record levels, with the Dow clocking a closing record for the fifth day in a row on Monday and the S&P closing at a record for the second consecutive session.

The Dow rose as advances in shares of General Electric and those of Caterpillar, recently up 2.2 percent and 1.9 percent respectively, outweighed declines in shares of Apple and those of Nike, recently down 1 percent and 0.7 percent respectively.

Investors do not expect the central bank to increase interest rates in the meeting but will closely watch Fed Chair Janet Yellen's views on inflation, which remains stuck below the Fed's 2-percent target rate.

The Dow rose 0.3% 0.3 per cent to close at a record 22,331.35 having hit an all-time high of 22,355.62 earlier in the day.

"Fed will likely be a non-event, but if they are slightly more dovish in their language, I think you could see a reversal in the banks, but I don't see a lot of activity", said Aaron Clark, portfolio manager at GW&K Investment Management.

NAR said existing home sales slumped by 1.7 percent to an annual rate of 5.35 million in August after tumbling by 1.3 percent to a rate of 5.44 million in July.

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Data showed USA homebuilding fell for a second straight month in August as a rebound in the construction of single-family houses was offset by weakness in the multifamily home segment.

Five of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by 0.33 percent gain in the energy index as oil prices edged up to trade close to five-month highs. The sector has risen in seven of the last eight sessions, clocking a 6 percent rise in that time.

Natural gas, gold, and transportation stocks have also moved to the upside on the day, while some weakness visible among computer hardware and semiconductor stocks.

Significant strength was also visible among biotechnology stocks, as reflected by the 1.6% gain posted by the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index. The index reached its best closing level in two months.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 5.75 points, or 0.1 percent, in volume of 26 contracts. However, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 2 percent.

Gold again fell - down 1.2% to $US1,309 an ounce, while West Texas Intermediate oil futures (WTI) oil futures jumped to a touch under $US50 a barrel in NY.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day.

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