Nevada News Reporter

Stocks end mostly lower as Fed meeting begins

Stocks end mostly lower as Fed meeting begins

Stocks were mostly lower in afternoon trading Tuesday as the Federal Reserve kicks off its two-day meeting on interest rate policy and investors wait for clues on when the central bank may begin raising rates. In a statement following the meeting that concludes Wednesday, the Fed is likely to drop a promise to be patient as it weighs interest rate hikes, clearing a path for an increase as early as June based on recent Fed guidance.2013-11-04T131020Z_8_CBRE99U0VX000_RTROPTP_3_MARKETS-STOCKS_original`

The Fed’s benchmark rate has been near zero since the 2008 financial crisis, which has helped fuel the six-year bull market. The Dow Jones industrial average was down about 140 points, giving back a chunk of Monday’s 228-point rally, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.4%. Tech stocks were holding steady as the Nasdaq composite index was trading at the break-even point.

Oil fell for a sixth straight day and was trading at six-year lows as U.S. benchmark crude dropped 1.6% to $43.18 a barrel. Weak housing data also weighed on the market as the government reported that housing starts plunged 17% in February as harsh winter weather hampered construction of new homes.

European shares were mixed Tuesday as Britain’s FTSE 100 index gained 0.5% and Germany’s DAX index tumbled 1.5%. France’s CAC 40 was down 0.6%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropped 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite rose 1.6%, amid hopes the Chinese government will announce new economic stimulus.