Wall Street Sees Slightly Higher Open as Traders Assess Data; FOMC Meeting Begins

U.S. stocks pointed to a slightly higher open on Tuesday amid several readings on the U.S. economy and ahead of Wednesday’s Fed policy announcement.

Oil prices nudged higher with global benchmark Brent Crude up 0.38%, and U.S. crude West Texas Intermediate up 0.82% recently as OPEC producers Saudi Arabia and Iraq pointed to a reduction in supplies to tighten the market.

Data released at 8:30 a.m. showed housing starts came slightly higher than expected at an 1.180 million annualized rate in August versus the 1.173 million estimate but lower than July’s revised 1.190 million. Housing permits came in stronger than expected at 1.300 million in August compared to 1.220 million consensus and prior revised level of 1.230 million. The current account deficit widened to $123.1 billion in Q2 from $113.5 billion in Q1 and also came in wider than the $115.1 billion estimate. Import and export prices both posted gains of 0.6% in August, above estimates of 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively, and prior month’s gains of 0.1% and 0.4%, respectively, according to data compiled by Econoday.

The Federal Open Market Committee began its two-day meeting to discuss monetary policy.

In equities, shares of RiteAid (RAD) were 8.4% lower pre-bell after the company secured regulatory clearance to sell 1,932 stores and related assets to Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) for $4.38 billion.

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