US, global stock markets weak ahead of Fed meeting

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks in the U.S. and globally were mostly lower for a fourth day Thursday as jittery investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates and worried about Britain’s vote on whether to leave the European Union.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 20 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,713 as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was unchanged at 2,079 and the Nasdaq composite rose nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,857.

Bond yields continued their steep fall as investors sought safety ahead of the Fed meeting and the vote in Britain. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.59 percent from 1.61 percent the day before, trading at yields not seen since 2012.

FED WATCH: The central bank’s two-day meeting started Tuesday, with a decision on interest rates to be announced Wednesday. The Fed had been expected to raise interest rates, but following some weak economic data, including the most recent monthly jobs report, it now appears likely to wait.

BREXIT: Stocks are also under pressure from uncertainty about whether British voters will choose to leave the European Union in a June 23 referendum. Polls show the vote could go either way and investors are starting to worry about the consequences.

A British exit from the EU, known informally as Brexit, would likely hurt the British economy most and destabilize the rest of Europe. The repercussions, however, are not clear and investors are reacting to the general uncertainty over the situation.

LOUSY CREDIT: Synchrony Financial, the country’s largest issuer and manager of store brand credit cards, fell $2.52, or 8 percent, to $27.93 after the company disclosed that more of its customers were falling behind on payments, and the company was charging off more accounts than anticipated.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 34 cents to $48.52 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 46 cents to $49.89 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 106.03 yen from 106.21 yen. The euro edged down to $1.1202 from $1.1293.

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