Stock market gets jitters on eve of Fed statement | TribLIVE

Stock market gets jitters on eve of Fed statement | TribLIVE

NEW YORK — The guessing game over higher interest rates is making for a jerky stock market.

A day after their biggest gain in six weeks, stock indexes mostly fell on Tuesday as oil continued to slide and investors fretted over when the Federal Reserve will raise a key borrowing rate. The Fed kicked off a two-day meeting on Tuesday to discuss rates and will release a policy statement on Wednesday.

Losses were small but spread across industries. Nine of the 10 sectors of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped, led by a 1.2 percent fall in raw-material companies.

Randall Warren, chief investment officer of Warren Financial Service, said he isn’t worried about higher rates but is bracing for more price swings.

“The economy is stronger and can handle it, and people will realize that,” he said. “But now we’re in the fear phase.”

The S&P 500 fell 6.99 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,074.20. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 128.34 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,849.08. The Dow jumped 228 the day before.

The Nasdaq composite edged up 7.93 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,937.43.

Energy stocks sank as the price of oil slid for the sixth consecutive day to a six-year low.

On Wednesday, the Fed is widely expected to drop the word “patient” in describing how long it will wait to raise rates. Many economists think that will signal that the Fed will make its first move in June.

Others aren’t so sure, with some predicting the central bank will wait until next year.

Mixed signals on the economy have been adding to the uncertainty.

“We keep getting good economic information, then bad economic information,” said Aaron Jett, an equity strategist at Bel-Air Investment Advisors. “There’s no conviction about what the Fed will do.”

Other stocks in the news:

• Apple rose $2.09, or 1.7 percent, to $127.04. The Wall Street Journal reported that the company is in talks with programmers to include TV networks in an online television service.

• American Airlines jumped $3.47, or nearly 7 percent, to $53.69 with news that the carrier will join the S&P 500 index after the close of trading Friday.

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Stock market gets jitters on eve of Fed statement | TribLIVE

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