New York Report: US shares fall as Fed decision due tomorrow

US STOCKS fell yesterday, pulling back before this week’s Federal Reserve meeting that could signal when the Fed is going to begin reducing its bond purchases aimed at helping the economic recovery.

Losses were led by the energy and financial sectors, with both the S&P energy index and S&P financial index down 0.8 per cent. Shares of Southwestern Energy slid three per cent to $38.14 and shares of Noble Energy fell 2.1 per cent to $62.07 following a dip in natural gas prices.

Several merger announcements helped to limit losses, along with news of a $1bn stock repurchase program by Caterpillar that pushed its stock up 1.1 percent to $83.03, making it the biggest support for the Dow.

But the Fed’s statement, which is due tomorrow after a two-day meeting of the Fed’s Open Market Committee, kept investors wary of buying as they await news of whether fiscal stimulus will be scaled back.

Data this week includes July’s payrolls report, another key event.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 36.86 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 15,521.97. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 6.32 points, or 0.37 per cent, at 1,685.33. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 14.02 points, or 0.39 per cent, at 3,599.14.

CF Industries Holdings, the world’s second-largest maker of nitrogen fertiliser, jumped 11.8 per cent to $202.30 after activist hedge fund Third Point LLC said it had acquired a stake.

Loews, the hotel, energy and financial services conglomerate, posted a jump in second-quarter profit as revenue from its insurance arm, CNA Financial, increased nearly 13 per cent.