NEW YORK – U.S. stocks fell, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 reached a record on July 24, as home sales declined and investors watched overseas crises before this week’s Federal Reserve policy decision.
Cummins Inc. fell 3.6 percent to lead industrial shares lower. AcelRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. tumbled 41 percent after saying it failed to win approval for its pain treatment Zalviso from the Food and Drug Administration. Trulia Inc. jumped 12 percent as Zillow Inc. agreed to purchase the company for $3.5 billion. Family Dollar Stores Inc., a discount store chain, soared 24 percent after Dollar Tree Inc. agreed to buy it.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.2 percent to 1,974.04 at 12:26 p.m. in New York, trimming an earlier drop of as much as 0.6 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 28.70 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,931.87. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was in line with the 30-day average during this time of day.
“Geopolitical risk has been heightened slightly,” Tom Wirth, a senior investment officer for Chemung Canal Trust Co. in Elmira, N.Y., said in a telephone interview. The firm oversees $1.9 billion. “You tend to get a little nervous prior to some big data that’s to be released and this is a big week for data. The decline is very slight when we think about that we’ve been hitting record after record.”
Fewer Americans than forecast signed contracts to buy previously owned homes in June, a sign residential real estate is struggling to strengthen. The index of pending home sales declined 1.1 percent from the month before after rising 6 percent in May, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed. The median forecast of 39 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected sales would rise 0.5 percent.
An S&P index of homebuilder shares dropped 2.4 percent to the lowest level since May.
Outside the U.S., international pressure mounted on Israel to end its three-week offensive in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, with President Barack Obama and the United Nations Security Council demanding an immediate truce.