US stocks dips for fifth day

United Statesstocks edged lower on Wednesday, putting the Standard and Poor’s 500 on track for a fifth straight day of losses, as the lack of progress in Washington threatened a government shutdown in just six days and shares of Wal-Mart fell.

Reuters reported that shares of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, lost nearly threeper cent, adding to early afternoon losses on the Dow and S&P 500 after a report by Bloomberg News that  it was cutting orders to its suppliers for this quarter and next.

The stock retraced some of those losses, trading down 1.6 per cent at $74.49, after the company told CNBC television the report was misleading.

For much of the session the indexes were little changed as investors weighed the potential for a US government shutdown against the possibility of a last-minute deal in Congress.

Investors also faced uncertainty about Federal Reserve policy after the central bank’s decision last week to keep its stimulus measures intact.

“We’re back to where we were before, which was a slowly grinding higher economy, nothing gangbusters, with plenty of restrictions on growth: fiscal policy, monetary policy, foreign issues and geopolitical issues,” said Jordan Waxman, managing director and partner at HighTower’s HSW Advisors in New York.

In Washington, Texas Senator Ted Cruz delivered a marathon diatribe of nearly 22 hours against President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, delaying Senate consideration of a stop-gap funding measure needed to fund government agencies beginning October 1.

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