Markets

Stocks inch lower before key events

Stocks are inching lower today as investors remain on edge before key news events tomorrow and Thursday.

S&P 500 futures are off 0.15 percent, while most of Europe is down about 0.4 percent. Asian markets fell sharply overnight, led by drops of 1.8 percent in Shanghai and 1.2 percent in Mumbai. The euro and commodities, however, remain stable.

Equities have has drifted for the last four weeks, with the S&P 500, Nasdaq 100, and transportation indexes all hitting long-term highs. The main themes of late have been weakness in commodities as investors worry about a slowing global economy and strength in retailers amid signs of strength in the United States.

There have been few major catalysts to affect sentiment, though that changes with the Federal Reserve's monetary announcement tomorrow afternoon. Attention will focus on language describing the central bank's plans to start raising interest rates. Perhaps even more important on Thursday, voters in Scotland will decide whether to secede from the United Kingdom. A decision in favor of independence could have produce uncertainty in financial markets and elsewhere in Europe.

Today's only U.S. economic release the producer-price index at 8:30 a.m. ET. Germany's Zew survey of economic sentiment came in better than expected earlier today, and China reported a significant 14 percent drop in foreign direct investment in August.

In company-specific news, Regeneron may climb after the Food and Drug Administration fast-tracked one of its drug candidates for approval. Yahoo is also inching higher after Alibaba, of which YHOO owns more than 20 percent, raised the price for its initial public offering.

Copper and silver rose 0.6 and gold is up 0.3 percent as metals attempt to hold their ground following a recent drop. Oil is fractionally lower and is also trying to stabilize. The British pound is the biggest mover in foreign-exchange markets, falling against every other major currency ahead of the Scottish referendum.

Buyers are also returning to U.S. Treasury bonds, which dropped earlier in the month as investors worried about tomorrow's Fed meeting.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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