Wall Street slips on Fed watch

United States markets close lower as investors await economic data, latest US Federal Reserve policy meeting.

United States stocks closed modestly lower as investors looked ahead to a busy week of economic news, corporate earnings and a US Federal Reserve policy meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 36.86 points, or 0.24%, to close at 15,521.97 points.

The broad-based S&P 500 closed down 6.32 points, or 0.37%, to 1,685.33 points.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 14.02 points, or 0.39%, to close at 3,599.14 points.

Analysts said investors are unlikely to place big bets ahead of this week's high-profile economic calendar, which includes a meeting of the Fed's policy-making committee and releases on second-quarter US economic growth and monthly jobs data.

"We have so much stuff later in the week," said Steven Rosen, a vice president at Societe Generale. "There was really not much happening in the market as a whole."

Although investors will be closely watching the outcome of the Fed's policy-setting committee meeting, few surprises are expected. Markets have generally taken the view that the central bank could begin tapering its stimulus spending later this year.

A report by the National Association of Realtors showed that pending US home sales for June declined 0.4%, which was below market expectations of a 0.1% rise. Pending home sales had hit a six-year high of 6.7% in May. Although the data was disappointing, analysts said it would not be enough to damage the perception that the US housing sector recovery is strengthening.

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