Stock market today: Wall Street slides lower in premarket trading ahead of this week's Fed meeting

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Wall Street stumbled in premarket trading Tuesday ahead of a busy week of inflation reports and the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate policy decision.

Futures for the S&P 500 shed 0.3% before the bell, while futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.4%.

Eli Lilly shares rose 2.2% before the bell after the company won the backing of federal health officials for its Alzheimer’s drug donanemab. Food and Drug Administration advisers voted unanimously that the drug’s ability to slow the disease outweighs its risks, setting the stage for its full approval later this year.

General Motors got a small lift early after automaker announced that its board approved a $6 billion stock buyback. Its shares rose another 1% and are up more than 32% this year.

Treasury yields came down a bit in the bond market ahead of reports later in the week that will show whether inflation improved last month at both the consumer and wholesale levels.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will announce its latest decision on interest rates. Virtually no one expects it to move its main interest rate then. But policy makers will be publishing their latest forecasts for where they see interest rates and the economy heading in the future.

When Fed officials released its last projections in March, they indicated the typical member foresaw roughly three cuts to interest rates in 2024. That projection will almost certainly fall this time around. Traders on Wall Street are largely betting on just one or two cuts to rates in 2024, according to data from CME Group.

Data on the economy have come in mixed recently, and traders are hoping for a slowdown that stops short of a recession and is just right in magnitude. A cooldown would put less upward pressure on inflation, which could encourage the Federal Reserve to cut its main interest rate from its most punishing level in more than two decades.

Elsewhere, in Europe at midday, Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 1% after government data showed the jobs market is cooling. The unemployment rate from February to April rose to 4.4%, the highest level since September 2021.

The CAC 40 in Paris skidded 1.2% and Germany’s DAX was down 0.8%.

In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3% to 39,134.79 as investors awaited the outcome of a meeting of the Bank of Japan. The central bank raised its benchmark interest rate in March to a range of 0 to 0.1% from minus 0.1%, in its first such increase in 17 years.

Analysts said markets were leaning toward two rate hikes by the end of this year, with broad expectations of further rate increases as soon as July.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank 1% to 18,176.34, and the Shanghai Composite lost 0.8% to 3,028.05 after reopening from a public holiday. Markets remained cautious ahead of a report on inflation in China due out Wednesday.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.3% to 7,755.40. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.2% to 2,705.32.

In other dealings, U.S. benchmark crude oil fell 12 cents to $77.62 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil is down 12.8% since early April, and lackluster demand has given drivers some relief at the gas pump as the summer travel season gets into gear.

Brent crude, the international standard, fell 11 cents to $81.52 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar inched up to 157.07 Japanese yen from 157.04 yen. The euro fell to $1.0734 from $1.0766.

On Monday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% to 5,360.79, topping its all-time high set last week. The Nasdaq composite also set a record after rising 0.3% to 17,192.53, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2% to 38,868.04.

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