• The S&P 500 was 0.3 percent lower at 2,998.25 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was down 0.2 percent at 8,167.87.
  • The Federal Reserve is due to announce its latest policy decision at 1800 GMT.
  • Shares in FedEx nosedived 12.7 percent, while shares were also lower in Adobe and General Mills.

NEW YORK: US stocks were in the red early Wednesday, with investors holding their fire ahead of a Federal Reserve policy decision widely expected to result in a cut to interest rates.

Oil prices also continued to retreat from Monday's record spikes that followed devastating weekend attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

Investors were meanwhile digesting disappointing results, including FedEx, which plunged after cutting its earnings guidance on a weaker global outlook and trade fears.

About 10 minutes into the day's trading, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen 0.2 percent to 27,055.33.

The S&P 500 was 0.3 percent lower at 2,998.25 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was down 0.2 percent at 8,167.87.

The Federal Reserve is due to announce its latest policy decision at 1800 GMT.

Shares in FedEx nosedived 12.7 percent, while shares were also lower in Adobe and General Mills, which likewise produced downcast earnings.

“Each of those companies reported quarterly results and each of those companies disappointed in one way or another with their sales and/or earnings and/or guidance," analyst Patrick O'Hare wrote at Briefing.com.

The outcome was “not a particularly uplifting precursor to the third quarter earnings reporting season," he said.

In economic data, housing starts numbers shattered forecasts, with a surge in apartment construction driving the pace of homebuilding to a 12-year high as builders began to respond to rising demand.