Belfast Telegraph

US stocks end lower as investors wait on Federal Reserve meeting

US stocks ended Monday mostly lower as investors waited for central bank meetings in the United States and Japan.

Health care and technology companies took some of the biggest losses while banks rose.

Investors were indecisive as leaders of the Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan prepared to meet, and stocks swung several times between gains and losses.

The Dow rose as much as 131 points early on, then fell as much as 30 points in the afternoon.

Banks, utility companies and machinery makers rose. Bond yields edged higher and the dollar weakened.

Russ Koesterich, head of asset allocation with BlackRock's Global Allocation Fund, said investors do not expect the Fed to raise interest rates. However, he said investors have more questions about the Bank of Japan's plans.

"They could decide to introduce more stimulus, but it could take a lot of different forms," he said.

"One of the questions ... is not only what will they do, but what would the market like to see?"

While advancing stocks far outnumbered fallers, the Dow Jones industrial average dipped 3.63 points, or less than 0.1%, to 18,120.17.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 0.04 points to 2,139.12. The Nasdaq composite fell 9.54 points, or 0.2%, to 5,235.03.

The Federal Reserve will meet on Tuesday and announce its latest decision on interest rates the following day.

Banks got a boost as some investors hoped that interest rates will rise, which would allow banks to make more money from lending.

JPMorgan Chase rose 37 cents to 66.19 US dollars and Wells Fargo regained 58 cents, or 1.3%, to 46.01 US dollars.

Technology products distributor Tech Data jumped after it said it will buy the technology solutions business of Avnet for 2.6 billion US dollars in cash and stock.

Tech Data says the deal will give it operations in 35 countries. Its stock rose 15.46 US dollars, or 22.3%, to 84.80 US dollars and Avnet gained 2.68 US dollars, or 6.8%, to 41.89 US dollars.

Despite the gains, the broader technology sector gave up an early advance and finished mostly lower.

Apple, which surged last week and reached its highest price this year, lost 1.34 US dollars, or 1.2%, to 113.58 US dolllars and Intel fell 51 cents, or 1.4%.

Benchmark US crude added 27 cents to 43.30 US dollars a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 18 cents to 45.95 US dollars a barrel in London.