US stocks take a breath ahead of Fed meeting

US stocks fell yesterday with traders’ sights set again on today’s Federal Reserve statement on the economy and a possible new round of stimulus.

The Nasdaq, which underperformed on Monday, was the smallest decliner among the three major US stock indexes in yesterday’s session, thanks in part to Apple shares’ gain of 2.6 per cent after a source said a new product will makes its debut at an event in September.

Volume was below average as Wall Street wrapped up its second consecutive positive month, with most of the monthly gains accumulated last week on hopes for more action from both the Fed and the European Central Bank. The ECB will meet tomorrow.

Coach slid 18.6 per cent after the upscale handbag and leather goods maker reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter sales.

For the month of July, the Dow rose one per cent, while the S&P 500 climbed 1.3 per cent and the Nasdaq added 0.2 per cent. After seven months, the S&P 500 has gained nearly 10 per cent for the year, despite a slowing world economy.

In yesterday’s session, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 64.33 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 13,008.68 at the close. The S&P 500 Index dropped 5.98 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 1,379.32. The Nasdaq Composite lost 6.32 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 2,939.52.

About 6.5bn shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and Amex, below the 2012 daily average of 6.74bn through Monday’s close.