All eyes are on the Fed, as investors await the Federal Open Market Committee's Wednesday announcement on interest rates. Many analysts anticipate a fed funds rate cut of 25 basis points.
“The Fed isn’t going to want to disappoint under the current market conditions,” said Peter Hooper, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities.
A rate cut is necessary to shore up the housing market, Hooper added.
“We’ve never really experienced this magnitude in the decline in home prices, which says there is a sizeable risk to consumer spending and therefore the economy,” he said.
For the day, the major US indexes closed on the down side.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped about 78 points at 13,792.47, the S&P 500 lost almost 10 points at 1,531.02, and the Nasdaq declined 0.73 points to close at 2,816.71
Microsoft fared well on the day, reaching a six-year high, with its shares up 2.89% to $35.57.
Other winners of the day included Goodyear , which rose 7.56% to $29.16; Sepracor , a gainer of 16.12% to $26.73, and Avon Products , which jumped 4.35% to close at $40.77.
Guns and scales stood on the losing end today.
Smith & Wesson shares dropped almost 40 percent, closing at $12.12. The gun maker cited extended warm weather and a decline in demand from hunters for a dim second-quarter forecast.
Pitney Bowes reported a 14 percent decline in 3Q profits. The leading maker of postal meters reported an unexpected drop in 3Q profit. That was enough to send prices down more than 15 percent closing at $39.93.
You can get up-to-the-minute investor news at www.cnbc.com.