(AP) Futures barely moved with so much riding on upcoming policy decisions at the Fed.
The U.S. Federal Reserve opens its two-day meeting Tuesday in the wake of a 16-day partial government shutdown that all but killed any chance, most believe, that policy makers will pull back on an aggressive economic stimulus campaign.
Dow Jones industrial futures rose 22 points to 15,540. S&P futures tacked on 2.1 points to reach 1,761. Nasdaq futures fell 2.75 points to 3,386.
Shares of retail companies edged higher before the opening bell after the Commerce Department released encouraging data about consumer behavior in September.
Retail sales dipped 0.1 percent, the weakest showing since March, but that was largely because the sales calendar pulled Labor Day weekend auto sales activity into August.
Americans actually ramped up spending for almost all other goods.
And the Labor Department reported that a sizeable decline in food costs helped hold down wholesale prices in September, the first drop since April.
Later Tuesday, the U.S. reports on business inventories, and the private Conference Board releases its monthly data on consumer confidence.
On the corporate front, Pfizer reported a 19 percent drop in profit during the third quarter Tuesday, citing competition from generic drugs. And the insurer Aetna fell short of Wall Street expectations as costs outpaced a 4 percent uptick in profit.
Apple has bounced back and is trading slightly higher before the opening bell after its earnings report late Monday left investors uninspired.
Apple's profits fell yet again, though it did beat most expectations for the quarter.