U.S. stocks closed lower Tuesday, but managed to recoup some of the session’s earlier losses as investors were jittery ahead of an announcement from the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday. The statement could reveal clues on when the central bank plans to raise interest rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI), which measures the share prices of 30 large industrial companies, dropped 128.34 points, or 0.71 percent, to close at 17,849.08. The S&P 500 stock index (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) dipped 6.99 points, or 0.34 percent, to end at 2,074.20. However, the Nasdaq composite (INDEXSP:.INX) added 7.93 points, or 0.16 percent, to finish at 4,937.43.
In after-hours trading, shares of Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) rose more than 3 percent to $44.50 as the provider of enterprise software and computer hardware products posted earnings in line with Wall Street estimates. The company turned in adjusted third-quarter earnings per share of 68 cents, meeting expectations; however, Oracle’s revenue came in just shy of forecasts.
The company posted revenue of $9.33 billion for the quarter compared with expectations of $9.46 billion, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Oracle said fully reported net income fell 3 percent to $2.5 billion, or earnings per share of 56 cents, from a year earlier.
No major U.S. economic data is scheduled on Wednesday morning, as most of the attention will be on the Federal Open Market Committee’s monetary policy statement, released at 2 p.m. EDT. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will hold a press conference following the announcement at 2:30 p.m. EDT.
On the global macroeconomic front, minutes from the Bank of England’s last meeting held on March 4-5 will be issued Wednesday. The Bank of England kept interest rates at record lows after its previous meeting, marking the sixth year of historic low rates following the global financial crisis.
U.S. stocks dropped in morning trading Tuesday, with the blue-chip Dow tumbling more than 150 points, following weaker-than-expected housing data, coupled with fears the Fed could hike rates in late spring. Meanwhile, oil prices extended losses Tuesday, closing lower for a fourth straight session, as glut fears continued to weigh on investor sentiment. U.S. crude futures tumbled as low as $42.63 intraday trading, their lowest level since March 2009. West Texas Intermediate crude, the benchmark for U.S. oil prices, dropped 42 cents to $43.46 a barrel, for April 15 delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the benchmark for global oil prices, dropped 50 cents to $53.50 a barrel, for May 15 delivery on the London ICE Futures Exchange.