With Fed rate decision looming, stocks fall

Posted at 7:32 AM, Sep 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-14 10:32:08-04

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. stock market drifted lower Monday following more signs of slowing growth in China. Traders were also looking ahead to a much-anticipated Federal Reserve meeting later this week. The central bank could raise interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index gave up six points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,955 as of 7:10 a.m. Pacific time. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 51 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,384, and the Nasdaq composite declined 14 points, also 0.3 percent, to 4,809.

PLUNGE: Raptor Pharmaceuticals plunged 36 percent after the drug developer said it may scrap development of a liver disease treatment because it failed to pass a key test. The company's stock slumped $4.26 to $7.76.

WAITING GAME: Until recently, many in the markets speculated that the Fed would raise its benchmark interest rate at the end of its two-day meeting on Thursday. Now, opinions are split. Some analysts suggest China's slower economy and turbulence in the financial markets might prompt the Fed to postpone raising rates for the first time since 2006. But the Fed's deputy chairman, Stanley Fischer, recently said he saw a "pretty strong case" for raising rates.

ACROSS THE ATLANTIC: In Europe, Germany's DAX was flat, and France's CAC-40 dropped 0.6 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares sank 0.5 percent.

ASIA'S DAY: In China, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 2.7 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.3 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 1.6 percent, and South Korea's Kospi lost 0.5 percent.

OIL WATCH: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 36 cents to $44.27 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, an international benchmark, declined 87 cents to $49.02 a barrel in London.

BONDS & CURRENCIES: Prices for U.S. government bonds rose, pushing the yield on the 10-year Treasury note down to 2.17 percent from 2.19 percent late Friday. The euro was 0.3 percent lower at $1.1292 and the dollar fell 0.2 percent to 120.09 yen.