US stock futures
Stocks have fluctuated this week amid heightened focus on the Fed meeting and whether the US central bank will clarify how quickly it plans to tighten credit and potentially slow the economy. Some on Wall Street fear that the Fed could signal on Wednesday that it plans to raise its key rate by half a point.
Also, the Census Bureau is expected to report that new single-family home sales jumped 2.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 in December. This would be the highest figure since April.
On Tuesday, stocks pulled back significantly from their lowest points by late afternoon. But another burst of selling in the final hour of trading pulled them down again. Technology stocks were the biggest drag on the market.
Retailers and communications companies also fell. Home Depot fell 1.3% and Netflix fell 5.4%. American Express shares rose 8.9%, the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after the credit card company said its fourth-quarter profit rose 20% from a year earlier.
The S&P 500 index fell 1.2% to 4356.45 after falling as much as 2.8%. The benchmark index has fallen steadily all month and is now down 9.2% from its all-time high of 3 January. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% to 34,297.73 and the Nasdaq technology index fell 2.3% to 13,539.29.
In Europe, London's FTSE added 1.7%, Germany's DAX added 1.9% and France's CAC gained 1.9%.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.4%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2% and China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.7%.
In energy trade, US benchmark crude added 43 cents to $86.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $2.29 to $85.60 a barrel on Tuesday.
Brent crude, which is the basis for international pricing, rose 74 cents to $88.94 a barrel.