Stocks opened lower ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee’s policy statement on Wednesday afternoon, followed by Fed chair Janet Yellen’s press conference at 2:30 ET.
Near 10:00 a.m., the Dow was down 82 points, the S&P 500 was down 7 points, and the Nasdaq was down 17 points.
Investors are watching whether the FOMC will remove the word “patient” from its statement, signaling that a rate hike may come as soon as June. The yield on the 10-year treasury note is three basis points lower at 2.02%.
It’s another ugly day for oil. West Texas Intermediate crude fell by more than 2% to around $US44.28 per barrel. On Tuesday, it fell further below $US43 per barrel, its lowest level in six years, after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed that US production is still surging; inventories rose by 10.5 million barrels last week to 450 million, outpacing the expectation for a rise of 3.8 million barrels.
At 10:30 a.m., the Energy Information Administration will give its weekly report on petroleum inventories.
Gold was little changed at around $US1148.60 an ounce after touching a four-month low on Tuesday. “The yellow metal, a non-interest yielding asset, has dropped nearly 3 per cent this year on expectations of a US rate hike as the dollar goes from strength to strength on speculation that the Fed is becoming impatient,” analysts at Accendo Markets wrote.