MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Cautious Ahead Of Fed
07/11/2012| 11:11am US/Eastern
By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks fell Wednesday, with the S&P 500 flirting with a fifth down session, as Wall Street looked to minutes from last month's Federal Reserve meeting for hints of more stimulus.
"It's all about the Fed minutes today and whether or not we see more Fed members tilting towards quantitative easing, or another round of stimulus," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.
The central bank is slated to release the minutes of its June meeting at 2 p.m. Eastern. Last month the Fed reiterated the nation's economic climate would likely have it maintaining its benchmark interest rate near zero until at least late 2014.
"The earnings season is going to keep this market on edge, and of course the ongoing situation in euro land. We're disappointed by the fact the German high court pushed back the debate on the constitutionality of the stability funds -- that caused a little bit of anxiety in the European markets, although Spain's taking some hard measures is actually a positive," he added.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) fell 54.42 points to 12,598.70, with 22 of its 30 components tallying losses.
The S&P 500 (SPX) dropped almost 2 points, or 0.2%, to 1,339.59, with materials hardest hit and energy the best performer among the index's 10 sectors.
Best Buy Co. (>> Best Buy Co., Inc.) slid 5.5% after appliance and electronics retailer HHGregg Inc. (>> hhgregg, Inc.) reduced its forecasts.
The Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) shed 10.89 points, or 0.4%, to 2,891.44.
Decliners nudged just ahead of advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, where 163 million shares traded as of 10:50 a.m. Eastern.
"The fact that we have light volume is a negative in the sense we'll have larger gyrations, but when you size it up, we're stuck in a trading range of 2% to 4% over the next several weeks," said Cardillo at Rockwell Capital.