* Fed holds rates steady in last decision before election
* S&P 500 on track for 7th straight day of losses
* Energy shares weak as oil prices tumble
* Indexes down: Dow 0.29 pct, S&P 0.52 pct, Nasdaq 0.71 pct (Updates with reaction to Fed statement)
By Lewis Krauskopf
Nov 2 (Reuters) - Wall Street stayed weak on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged but signaled it could hike in December.
In its last policy decision before the U.S. election, the U.S. central bank said the economy had gained steam and job gains remained solid, and expressed more optimism that inflation was moving toward its 2 percent target.
“The Fed is teasing investors by inserting language to suggest they need just a little bit more evidence of progress towards its objectives,” said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. “A few more jobs reports could do it, meaning December is the most likely scenario.”
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 52.63 points, or 0.29 percent, to 17,984.47, the S&P 500 lost 10.96 points, or 0.52 percent, to 2,100.76 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 36.67 points, or 0.71 percent, to 5,116.91.
The S&P 500 was headed toward its seventh straight session of declines, its longest such streak in about five years, amid heightened uncertainty over the U.S. presidential election.
Energy was the worst performing sector as oil prices fell.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 3.24-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.70-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 2 new 52-week highs and 9 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 15 new highs and 132 new lows. (Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York and Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Nick Zieminski)