* Alibaba jumps after results
* Pharma majors Pfizer, Merck rise on strong results
* Crude oil lower; Exxon, Chevron slip
* Apple, Twitter to report after the close
* Indexes down: Dow 0.09 pct, S&P 0.22 pct, Nasdaq 0.05 pct (Adds details, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Oct 27 (Reuters) - Wall Street was lower on Tuesday after mixed earnings reports from major U.S. companies, weaker-than-expected data and further declines in crude oil prices.
Investors are also watching the Federal Reserve, which began its two-day policy meeting. While expectations of a rate hike this week are slim, traders will focus on the Fed’s statement on Wednesday for clues on the timing of a liftoff.
Corporate results remain in sharp focus as investors scrutinize the reports for the measures companies are taking to grow revenue and protect profit margins.
All eyes are on Apple, which reports fourth-quarter results after the close. The iPhone maker’s report will be parsed for details on China sales and the company’s forecast for the crucial holiday quarter.
“I think it’s a day where the market is going to metaphorically hold its breath and wait for both Apple’s results and what the Fed is going to do,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst, Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
At 11:38 a.m. ET (1538 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was down 16.24 points, or 0.09 percent, at 17,606.81, the S&P 500 was down 4.46 points, or 0.22 percent, at 2,066.72 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 2.43 points, or 0.05 percent, at 5,032.28.
Brent crude prices fell again on Tuesday as worries about a global supply glut worsened. Exxon and Chevron declined about 1 percent.
Nine of the 10 major S&P sectors were down, with the energy sector’s 1 percent fall leading the decliners.
Data on Tuesday showed U.S. durable goods orders fell for the second straight month in September, the latest indication that economic growth braked sharply in the third quarter.
Adding to the negative tone, consumer confidence declined unexpectedly in October, according to a Conference Board report.
Ford’s shares skidded 4 percent to $15.06 after its profit missed estimates, while UPS fell 2.9 percent to $103.16 after its revenue missed expectations.
Grubhub sank 20 percent to $25.59 after its third-quarter results missed estimates.
Healthcare was the lone bright spot, driven by better-than-expected profits from pharmaceutical majors Pfizer and Merck.
Alibaba was up 4.5 percent at $79.79 after the e-commerce giant reported better-than-expected revenue. Yahoo , which owns a 15 percent stake in Alibaba, rose 3 percent.
Twitter reports after the close.
Strong results from tech majors and blue chips last week helped improve analyst sentiment on quarterly earnings.
S&P 500 earnings are now expected to have declined 2.6 percent in the quarter, compared with a 4.2 percent decline forecast at the start of the month, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,174 to 761. On the Nasdaq, 1,715 issues fell and 928 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 10 new 52-week highs and 10 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 48 new highs and 84 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)