* Crude oil lower; Exxon, Chevron slip
* Apple, Twitter to report after the close
* Alibaba rises after strong results
* Rite Aid surges on report Walgreens in buyout talks
* Indexes down: Dow 0.21 pct, S&P 0.37 pct, Nasdaq 0.18 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
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 parse the Fed’s statement on Wednesday for clues on the timing of a liftoff.
Corporate results remain in sharp focus as investors assess the reports for measures companies are taking to grow revenue and protect profit margins.
All eyes are on Apple, which reports fourth-quarter results after the close. Investors will be looking out for iPhone maker’s China sales and its 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.
Brent crude prices fell again on Tuesday as worries about a global supply glut worsened. Exxon and Chevron were down about 1 percent.
The energy sector’s 1.6 percent fall led the nine decliners among the 10 major S&P sectors.
RiteAid soared 40 percent to $8.51 after the Wall Street Journal reported that Walgreens Boots Alliance was in advanced talks to buy the drugstore operator. Walgreens jumped 3.7 percent.
Data on Tuesday showed U.S. durable goods orders fell for the second straight month in September while consumer confidence unexpectedly slipped this month, suggesting a sharp slowdown in economic growth.
At 12:25 p.m. ET (1625 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was down 37.01 points, or 0.21 percent, at 17,586.04, the S&P 500 was down 7.65 points, or 0.37 percent, at 2,063.53 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 8.89 points, or 0.18 percent, at 5,025.81.
Ford’s shares skidded 4.3 percent to $15.01 after its profit missed estimates, while UPS fell 3.2 percent to $102.78 on lower-than-expected revenue.
Grubhub sank nearly 25 percent to $24.29 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 3.5 percent at $79.02 after the e-commerce giant reported better-than-expected revenue. Yahoo , which owns a 15 percent stake in Alibaba, rose 2.1 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 2,237 to 751. On the Nasdaq, 1,794 issues fell and 901 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 12 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 51 new highs and 94 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)