NEW YORK: Wall Street’s main indexes struggled for direction on Tuesday as investors awaited the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting while assessing the latest batch of earnings reports.

Megacap growth stocks, which had powered over 1% gains on Wall Street on Monday, were a drag on Tuesday.

Meta Platforms, Microsoft and Alphabet fell between 0.4% and 1%.

Nvidia dropped 2.6% after a report said latest US curbs could force the chip designer to cancel billions of dollars of orders to China.

Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were in the green, with real estate up 1.2% and leading gains, while communication services was down 0.4% The Fed kicked off a two-day monetary policy meeting on Tuesday. At the end of the meet the central bank is widely expected to hold interest rates steady, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

The Fed’s commentary on Wednesday and Friday’s monthly payrolls report would be crucial in assessing how long monetary policy could stay restrictive.

“Today is a fairly trendless and friendless market. Everyone’s waiting for the Federal Reserve’s decision and for the employment report on Friday,” said Hugh Johnson, chairman and chief economist of Hugh Johnson Economics.

“Investors since late July have become worried because the possibility of a hard landing has increased. That’s why today there’s so much attention on (the Fed).” Data showing a solid increase in US labor costs in the third quarter added to concerns that the Fed could keep interest rates higher for longer.

On the earnings front, heavy-machinery maker Caterpillar fell 5.8% as signs of slowing machinery demand overshadowed a quarterly earnings beat.

Drugmaker Amgen fell 3.7% as sales of some high-profile medicines came in below expectations in the third quarter.

Of the 279 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings to date, over 78% have beaten analyst estimates, per LSEG data. Analyst expect earnings growth of 4.9% for S&P 500 companies in the third quarter.

US equities are tracking their third straight month of losses, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq on course for their biggest October percentage decline since 2018.

At 11:47 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 33.53 points, or 0.10%, at 32,895.43, the S&P 500 was up 0.09 points, or 0.00%, at 4,166.91, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 37.01 points, or 0.29%, at 12,752.48.

Pinterest jumped 18.6% as the image-sharing platform beat third-quarter revenue and profit estimates.

VF Corp dropped 14.1% after the Vans sneaker maker withdrew its annual forecast, while Arista Networks gained 8.5% on an upbeat fourth-quarter revenue outlook.


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