US stocks were struggling for direction ahead of Wednesday’s opening bell as traders anticipated the US Federal Reserve’s rate decision later in the session.

Dow futures slipped 0.1%, S&P futures declined 0.1% and Nasdaq futures also fell 0.1%.

Oil prices nudged lower, with global benchmark Brent crude down 1.1% and US standard West Texas Intermediate futures 1.6% lower after signals from Saudi Arabia that its production can recover quickly from the attacks.

Data released at 8:30 am showed August housing starts of 1.364 million vs estimates for 1.251 million and the 1.191 million in the previous month. Permits came in at 1.419 million, ahead of the 1.3 million forecast and higher than July’s 1.336 million, according to data compiled by Econoday.

The Fed is expected to cut its rate by 25 basis points.

In equities, shares of SPI Energy (SPI) soared by 83% pre-bell after the company said it launched a new hemp and cannabidiol business.

U.S. PRE-MARKET INDICATORS

-Dow Jones Industrial down 0.1%

-S&P 500 futures down 0.1%

-Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.1%

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei down 0.18%

Hang Seng down 0.13%

Shanghai Composite up 0.25%

FTSE-100 up 0.01%

DAX-30 up 0.14%

PRE-MARKET SECTOR WATCH

(+/-) Large cap tech: mixed

(-) Chip stocks: unchanged to lower

(+/-) Software stocks: mixed

(+/-) Hardware stocks: mixed

(-) Internet stocks: unchanged to lower

(+/-) Oil stocks: mixed

(=) Biotech stocks: unchanged

(+/-) Drug stocks: mixed

(-) Financial stocks: lower

(+/-) Retail stocks: mixed

(+/-) Industrial stocks: mixed

(+) Airlines: unchanged to higher

(+/-) Autos: mixed

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) NLNK (+5.8%) Says FDA Okays Merck’s BLA, grants priority review for Ebola vaccine V920

(+) VIVE (+11%) To implement reverse stock split

(+) TTNP (+35.7%) Gets approval for second year of NIDA grant funding for development of a Nalmafene plant

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) FDX (-10.7%) Fiscal Q1 earnings miss forecasts

(-) PTCT (-8.8%) Prices $250 million note offering

(-) CHWY (-1.5%) Q2 revenue tops forecast

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