(Reuters) - The Dow and the S&P 500 edged lower on Monday as energy shares dropped with oil prices and Apple retreated a day before its quarterly results.
Investors were cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting, which begins on Tuesday. The market is looking for clues on the outlook for when the Fed may begin raising interest rates.
Apple (AAPL.O) shares fell 3.2 percent to $115.28, making it the biggest drag on all three major indexes, while a weak outlook from one of its suppliers, Dialog Semiconductor (DLGS.DE), led a fall in other semiconductors. An index of semiconductors .SOX was down 2 percent after three days of gains.
The iPhone maker reports quarterly results after the market closes on Tuesday.
“With Apple, it’s more about their forecast and China news and any upgrades they may want to announce,” said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
The S&P energy sector .SPNY fell 2.5 percent, leading sector declines for the S&P 500. Crude oil prices LCOc1 CLc1 slipped as global oversupply pushed fuel storage sites close to capacity. Exxon (XOM.N) fell 2.1 percent to $81.22, while Chevron (CVX.N) was down 2.7 percent to $88.77.
U.S. stocks have mostly gained in October after a weak third quarter. The S&P 500 is up 7.9 percent for the month so far.
“It’s been a pretty big move up, so we’re seeing a little bit of consolidation today,” Meckler said.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 23.65 points, or 0.13 percent, to 17,623.05, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 3.97 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,071.18 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 2.84 points, or 0.06 percent, to 5,034.70.
Among the top Nasdaq gainers, shares of Ctrip.com (CTRP.O) were up 22.1 percent at $90.78 after the online travel firm said it would merge with Qunar Cayman Islands. Qunar QUNR.O jumped 7.9 percent to $42.65.
Strong quarterly results from tech companies have helped improve expectations for overall U.S. third-quarter earnings.
S&P 500 earnings are forecast to have declined 2.8 percent in the quarter, based on actual results from about 35 percent of the S&P 500 companies and estimates for the rest, compared with a 4.2 percent decline forecast at the start of the month, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Data showed new U.S. home sales fell 11.5 percent in September, suggesting a softening of the housing market. An index of housing shares .HGX was down 0.4 percent.
Piedmont Natural Gas PNY.N rose 36.9 percent to $57.82 after it agreed to be bought by Duke Energy (DUK.N). Duke Energy fell 2 percent.
After the bell, shares of Hartford Financial (HIG.N) fell 4.7 percent to $46.50 following its results.
During the session, NYSE declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,916 to 1,153, for a 1.66-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,749 issues fell and 1,077 advanced, for a 1.62-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 36 new 52-week highs and eight lows; the Nasdaq recorded 111 new highs and 73 lows.
About 6.1 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 7.3 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Additional reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish