Investors await Fed decision, stocks see modest gains

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Will the Fed cut rates this year?

Wells Fargo Securities Managing Director Mark Vitner on the U.S. trade tensions with China, the state of the U.S. economy and the outlook for Federal Reserve policy.

U.S. stocks secured gains to start the week ahead of the Fed's two-day policy meeting which begins on Tuesday.

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The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.6 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted slight gains.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES27154.2-68.77-0.25%
SP500S&P 5002976.61-18.50-0.62%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX8146.488965-60.75-0.74%

Healthcare stocks were among the top performers after Pfizer announced plans to pay over $10 billion for cancer company Array BioPharma. The offer of $48 per Array share represents a premium of about 62 percent to the stock's close on Friday.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
PFEPFIZER INC.42.77-0.29-0.67%
ARRYARRAY BIOPHARMA46.490.000.00%

Elsewhere, Target shares fell after disclosing a massive outage of registers nationwide over the weekend which meant customers could not check out with credit cards. An outage at NCR, its vendor, being flagged as the culprit. Those shares fell in tandem.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
TGTTARGET CORP.88.01-0.49-0.55%
NCRNCR29.88-0.07-0.23%

Many investors turned their focus to the Federal Reserve as policymakers kicked-off a two-day meeting, with a decision on interest rates expected Wednesday, followed by a press conference with Chairman Jerome Powell. Currently, traders are not expecting any change at the June meeting according to the CME's FedWatch Tool, however, there is a bias growing for a potential rate cut in July. Either way, the Fed's statement on Wednesday is expected to hold valuable clues as to the Fed's timing around a possible cut.

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In trade, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross signaled any potential final trade deal with China is months away after talks broke down last month, comments that come as U.S. businesses, mainly retailers,  headed to Capitol Hill in droves to oppose new tariffs on the Asian nation. Ross did say any meeting between Trump and President Xi Jinping at the upcoming G-20 summit in Japan, would be a positive step to relaunch of negotiations between the U.S. and China.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
BABOEING COMPANY377.36+16.25+4.50%

Boeing shares gained after the planemaker raised its rolling 20-year industry forecast for passenger aircraft to $8.7 trillion.

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In economic news, U.S. home-builder confidence slipped in June, a sign of weakening sentiment in a key sector of the economy. The National Association of Home Builders housing market index fell to 64 this month from an unrevised level of 66 in May, the trade group said Monday.