US STOCKS-Wall St opens lower ahead of Fed meeting

martes 17 de marzo de 2015 09:48 GYT

* Housing starts fall to lowest levels in a year

* American Airlines shares up; oil prices fall

* Indexes down: Dow 0.51 pct, S&P 0.31 pct, Nasdaq 0.12 pct (Adds market open, updates share prices)

By Sinead Carew

March 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks pulled back on Tuesday from a rally in the previous session ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting that investors hope will bring insight on the timing of an interest rate hike.

The Federal Open Market Committee is due to start a two-day meeting on Tuesday and is expected to put out its statement and projections on Wednesday afternoon.

Most economists expect the Fed to remove a pledge to be "patient" about raising interest rates from its statement, giving it flexibility on when to kick off its first rate hike since 2006.

U.S. housing starts plunged to their lowest level in a year in February likely as harsh weather kept builders at home, in the latest indication the economy hit a soft patch in the first quarter.

The benchmark S&P 500 index on Monday saw its biggest percentage gain since Feb. 3. Last week, the Dow and S&P registered their third week of losses.   Continuación...