Stokcs Lower Ahead of Fed Meeting

Stokcs Lower Ahead of Fed Meeting

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks around the world pulled back Tuesday as investors wait to hear from the Federal Reserve, which is beginning a two-day policy meeting on interest rates. Energy stocks had some of the biggest declines, hurt by a continued drop in the price of oil.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 9 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,364 as of 9:53 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 41 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,840. The Nasdaq composite fell 27 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,849.

Nine stocks fell on the New York Stock Exchange for every two that rose.

ENERGY SLUMP: Energy stocks in the S&P 500 fell 1.2 percent, by far the largest loss among the 11 sectors that make up the index. Marathon Oil fell 90 cents, or 5.7 percent, to $14.94 for the largest loss in the S&P 500. Devon Energy fell $1.69, or 4.1 percent, to $39.28, and National Oilwell Varco dropped $1.37 or 3.6 percent, to $36.73.

The price of crude oil has been slumping since late last month, when it was at nearly $55 per barrel. Benchmark U.S. crude oil was trading at $47.62 a barrel Tuesday, down 78 cents, or 1.6 percent. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, dropped 78 cents to $50.56 a barrel in London.

ACKMAN OUT: Valeant Pharmaceuticals fell $1.22, or 10.1 percent, to $10.89 after one of its biggest investors sold its entire stake in the company. Valeant's stock has tumbled nearly 96 percent since its peak in the summer of 2015 because the company is facing more scrutiny for raising prices on its drugs. Activist investor Bill Ackman's Pershing Square said Monday it has sold its investment in the company.

HEALTH IMPACT: Health care stocks held relatively steady overall amid increased expectations that the Republican proposal to overhaul the Affordable Care Act is unlikely to pass in its current form. The sector was down 0.1 percent in early trading.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said late Monday that the Republican proposal would result in 24 million more uninsured people over a decade, while trimming the federal deficit by $337 billion.

CURRENCIES: The pound fell against the dollar after Parliament gave its prime minister the authority to divorce Britain from the European Union. Scotland's first minister, meanwhile, called for a referendum to break free of the United Kingdom.

The pound fell to $1.2146 from $1.2231 late Monday. The euro fell to $1.0639 from $1.0660, and the dollar dipped to 114.72 Japanese yen from 114.77 yen.

YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.60 from 2.63 percent late Monday. The two-year yield dipped to 1.36 percent from 1.38 percent, and the 30-year yield sank to 3.18 percent from 3.21 percent.

COMMODITIES: Gold fell $1 to $1,202.10 per ounce, silver slipped a penny to $16.96 per ounce and copper dropped a penny to $2.61 per pound.

MARKETS ABROAD: In Europe, Germany's DAX index was virtually flat, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 slipped 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 fell 0.4 percent. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index dipped 0.1 percent, South Korea's Kospi rose 0.8 percent and the Hang Seng in Honk Kong was close to flat.