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US: Stocks sag ahead of Federal Reserve meeting, British vote

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Wall Street stocks retreated on Monday at the start of a news-jammed week that includes a British election and a Federal Reserve decision.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks retreated on Monday at the start of a news-jammed week that includes a British election and a Federal Reserve decision.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.4 per cent at 27,909.60, snapping a three-day winning streak.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.3 per cent to 3,135.96, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.4 per cent at 8,621.83.

The Fed is widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged, while Thursday's British election has been seen as moving the country closer to an exit from the European Union.

Both the Fed and the British vote "are scheduled for the second half of the week, which could mean that a lot of investors are taking a step back in the wake of last week's roller-coaster ride," according to Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman.

Investors have also been awaiting word on whether the United States will go ahead with a plan to enact tariffs on Chinese goods on December 15.

The market broadly believes the United States will delay or cancel the tariffs but lingering uncertainty over that outcome could keep stock buying in check.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management projected a bounce in revenues for US manufacturers in 2020 despite lingering unease over trade tariffs.

Among individual stocks, ArQule, which has been developing cancer medications, more than doubled after it agreed to be acquired by Merck for US$2.7 billion. Merck dipped 0.2 per cent.

Morgan Stanley fell 0.4 per cent following reports it will cut 1,500 jobs worldwide in a cost-cutting move.

AFP