USA stocks end higher; all eyes on Fed

USA stocks end higher; all eyes on Fed

USA stocks end higher; all eyes on Fed

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 507.53 points to 23,592.98, and the Nasdaq fell 2.2% to close at 6,753.73.

Trading was turbulent. Two days of widespread market declines had knocked 1,004 points off the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and on Tuesday, investors couldn't find a convincing reason for stock prices to go higher.

For the past five decades, the last week of the year and first couple of trading sessions in January have been a healthy time for stocks, with indexes marking more than 1 percent gains. The drops come as investors worry about continuing trade tensions, a court ruling declaring Obamacare unconstitutional, the potential partial government shutdown, the unresolved Brexit issue, and a rising backlash against big tech companies.

Energy stocks including Exxon Mobil fell again on Tuesday, but some of those losses were offset by gains in Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing. President Donald Trump continued with his criticism of policy makers, warning them to avoid "yet another mistake" just hours before their two-day meeting begins.

"With increased stock market volatility and signs of slower growth overseas, there are increasing calls for the Fed to halt its rate increases", wrote David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds on Monday.

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Bond prices rose again.

The S&P 500 index fell 8 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,591.

The S&P 500 has lost almost 8% of its value this month, eclipsing the 6% fall witnessed during the final month of 2002.

Privately-owned housing starts in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,256,000, a decline of 3.6 percent year on year, according to the Commerce Department on Tuesday. Market participants widely expect the Fed to raise benchmark US rates this month, but some investors anticipate that the USA central bank will indicate fewer rate hikes for 2019 than previously expected.

Watch the major USA indexes trade in real time here. China and Europe have also suggested that growth is slowing. US crude prices tumbled more than 7 percent on concerns of oversupply. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, was up a cent at $56.27 a barrel. "With the global economy facing lower growth in 2019, including the USA, inflation in check and US stocks in correction territory, it may not be the best time to be raising rates". The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were both lower by about 1.7%. West Texas Intermediate crude is down more than 3.5%, trading at $48.41 a barrel, while Brent crude is down a similar margin, trading at $57.55.

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