Stocks closed near the flat line Monday as investors geared up for the Federal Reserve’s meeting scheduled for later in the week.
The Fed’s two-day policy meeting begins Tuesday. Traders are assigning a 99% chance that the central bank stays put when it releases its rate decision on Wednesday, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool, which gauges pricing in the fed funds futures market. The central bank will also release its market forecasts on Wednesday.
There’s less agreement about what the Fed will do in November, with the market expecting an approximately 31% probability of a hike. Goldman Sachs’ economists said over the weekend that an increase in November would be unlikely.
“There are some question marks: Everyone knows that they’re going to stay put for this meeting, but then what is their messaging going to be going forward?,” said Stephanie Lang, CIO at Homrich Berg. “It’s a wait-and-see moment to see what kind of forward guidance we’re getting from the Fed.”
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both ended the previous trading week down, marking their second straight week of losses. The Dow finished the week 0.1% higher.