The Nasdaq barely held onto a small gain Tuesday as traders braced for what could turn out to be a pivotal Federal Reserve meeting.
The Fed is widely expected to cut interest rates by a quarter point on Wednesday, but some economists caution that the Fed may not cut rates at all — and could signal that its rate cut campaign that began last summer is over.
With inflation and the weak dollar growing concerns — and both problems exacerbated by rate cuts — observers generally agree that the Fed could at least signal a break from further rate cuts in its policy statement tomorrow.
Facing that uncertainty — and first-quarter GDP numbers in the morning — stocks once again made little headway on Tuesday.
Yahoo was a big gainer, up more than 3% on reports that Microsoft could launch a proxy bid to acquire Yahoo as soon as Wednesday.
Corning was another standout, rising more than 3% on better than expected results and guidance, and Microchip was another earnings winner.
Rogers Communications climbed 4% on plans to bring Apple’s iPhone to Canada. Apple rose on the news, but Research In Motion gained even more despite the new competition in its backyard.
Comscore jumped 12% on an upgrade. The company reports results on Thursday and has seen volatile swings lately.
Digi and TheStreet.com fell on their results.
The Nasdaq added 1 to 2426, the S&P lost 5 to 1390, and the Dow shed 40 to 12,831. Volume declined to 3.75 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.78 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 19-13 margin on the NYSE, and by a 16-11 margin on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 41% on the NYSE, and 57% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 34-77 on the NYSE, and 50-94 on the Nasdaq.