GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares edge lower as policy uncertainty grips
* Major stock markets dip as US fiscal showdown looms
* Currencies hug tight ranges; Fed, ECB uncertainty cited
* German Ifo index confirms only modest growth outlook
NEW YORK, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Anxiety over the lack of clarity on U.S. fiscal and monetary policies continued to weigh on world shares and commodity markets on Tuesday, keeping major currencies in tight ranges.
Caution has gripped the markets as a political showdown looms in Washington over budget talks and as investors try to decipher a string of comments from Federal Reserve officials over the future of its stimulus program.
"There are conflicting reports on the internal discussion in the Fed," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh. "There's a lot of information and that makes the Fed look confused."
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 21.77 points, or 0.14 percent, at 15,379.61. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 3.41 points, or 0.20 percent, at 1,698.43. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 2.92 points, or 0.08 percent, at 3,762.37.
With stocks steady in Europe, the MSCI world equity index was down 0.3 percent for the day. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index held flat at 1,256.61 points
In commodity markets, gold slipped for a fourth straight session to $1,315.60 an ounce as investors fretted over what the Fed will do next.
November U.S. crude was off $1.10 at $102.49 a barrel, down for a fourth day, and Brent crude for November fell 44 cents to $107.71 per barrel.
Against the Japanese currency, the dollar fell 0.1 percent to 98.70 yen, although against a basket of currencies it rose 0.1 percent as the euro was flat at $1.3486.
German business morale improved slightly in September, according to Munich-based think-tank Ifo, though the reading was slightly below expectations.