* Crude oil lower; energy shares slip
* Rite Aid surges on reports Walgreens in buyout talks
* Indexes down: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.1 pct (Updates to close)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
Oct 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks slipped on Tuesday on uncertainty over the U.S. rate outlook and disappointing results from Ford and other companies.
Data showing U.S. business investment plans fell for a second straight month in September added to the weaker tone.
Shares of Apple, the biggest company by market capitalization, fell 0.6 percent at $114.55 ahead of its results.
Ford dropped 5 percent to $14.89 after quarterly results missed expectations, while JetBlue Airways Corp fell 3.2 percent to $25.36 after it said it will make less money per mile in October than it did a year ago.
Shares of other airlines also fell, and the Dow Jones transportation average dropped 2.6 percent.
The Federal Reserve began its two-day policy meeting. While expectations for a rate hike this week are slim, investors are looking for clues on when the Fed will begin to raise interest rates.
"Tonight is Apple and that's going to be a big driver, and it's probably why the market is kind of floppy today, coupled with the fact we're going to get the Fed statement tomorrow. That's going to be parsed every way possible," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.
Casting more doubts on whether the Fed will raise rates this year, data showed U.S. non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, slipped last month after a downwardly revised decline in August.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 41.62 points, or 0.24 percent, to 17,581.43, the S&P 500 lost 5.29 points, or 0.26 percent, to 2,065.89 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.56 points, or 0.09 percent, to 5,030.15.
Alibaba rose 4 percent to $79.44 after the e-commerce giant reported better-than-expected revenue. After the bell, shares of Twitter dropped after it reported results. Twitter's stock ended the regular session up 1.5 percent.
Declines in crude oil weighed further on energy shares, and the S&P energy index, down 1.2 percent, led sector declines for the S&P 500.
Healthcare was only one of two S&P 500 sectors to end in positive territory for the day. The index was up 1.7 percent after better-than-expected earnings from top drugmakers Pfizer and Merck. Pfizer was up 2.4 percent at $34.99 and Merck was up 1.1 percent at $53.47.
Rite Aid shares jumped 42.6 percent to $8.67. Sources said Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc is nearing a deal to buy the company.
Among other gainers, shares of hotel operators rose after the Wall Street Journal reported at least three Chinese firms were looking to bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc . Starwood shares were up 9.1 percent at $74.81 while shares of Marriott International were up 1.8 percent at $77.99.
NYSE declining issues outnumbered advancing ones 2,293 to 797, for a 2.88-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 2,003 issues fell and 820 advanced, for a 2.44-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 14 new 52-week highs and 13 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 56 new highs and 122 new lows. (Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Nick Zieminski)