Stocks edged lower in early trading Wednesday ahead of the potentially big news coming later: the Federal Reserve may announce new steps to boost the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 18 points, or 0.1%, to 12,819 shortly after the opening bell.
The broader Standard & Poor's 500 was down 2 points, or 0.2%, to 1,356. The tech-focused Nasdaq was essentially flat, down less than a point at 2,929.
Also weighing on the market was a downbeat forecast for consumer products giant Procter & Gamble, which reported slowing sales growth. P&G stock lost $2.28, or 3.7%, to $59.93 a share in early trading.
Markets' tepid movements could give way to a larger swing later Wednesday as the Fed releases its statement on monetary policy. Investors have been betting that the central bank will take new steps amid evidence of a slowing U.S. recovery.