* Fed meeting, more earnings reports awaited
* Apple biggest drag on indexes
* Exxon, Chevron fall as crude prices slip
* Pep Boys up after agreeing to be bought by Bridgestone
* Ctrip.com up after deal with Qunar
* Dow down 0.16 pct, S&P down 0.21 pct, Nasdaq up 0.09 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Oct 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were slightly lower on Monday as a fall in crude oil prices weighed on energy stocks and Apple’s shares retreated a day before its quarterly results.
Investors are also awaiting the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting, which begins on Tuesday. While the Fed is not expected to raise rates at the meeting, its statement on Wednesday will provide clues on the timing of a rate hike.
Apple was down 3 percent at $115.55, making it the biggest drag on the three major indexes. The iPhone maker reports quarterly results after the market closes on Tuesday.
Crude prices slipped as global oversupply pushed fuel storage sites close to capacity. Exxon fell 1.4 percent, while Chevron was down 2 percent. Both report results on Friday.
The S&P energy sector’s 1.8 percent fall led the eight decliners among the major S&P sectors.
“The theme today is kind of wait-and-hold,” said Katrina Lamb, head of investment strategy and research at MV Financial.
“You’ve got a couple of key numbers and a pretty crowded calendar coming up this week. If you’re a taking positions, you’re probably just going to want to keep yourself hedged,” Lamb said.
At 12:33 p.m. ET (1633 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was down 27.59 points, or 0.16 percent, at 17,619.11, the S&P 500 was down 4.45 points, or 0.21 percent, at 2,070.7 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 4.71 points, or 0.09 percent, at 5,036.58.
Data on Monday showed new U.S. home sales fell 11.5 percent in September, suggesting a softening of the housing market.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said the central bank could raise rates this year but only if it sees clear signs of sustained economic growth.
Traders are pricing in only a 6 percent chance of rates being increased at this week’s Fed meeting and a 39 percent chance of a December hike, according to CME Group’s FedWatch program.
Strong quarterly results from tech companies have helped improve expectations on overall U.S. third-quarter earnings.
S&P 500 earnings are estimated to have declined a more modest 2.8 percent in the quarter, compared with 4.9 percent forecast at the start of the reporting season, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Ctrip.com was up 20.1 percent at $89.28 after the online travel firm said it would merge with Qunar Cayman Islands. Qunar jumped nearly 13.6 percent to $44.91.
Pep Boys jumped 23.2 percent to $14.96 after it agreed to be acquired by Bridgestone for $15 per share.
Piedmont Natural Gas soared nearly 38.2 percent to $58.33 after it agreed to be bought by Duke Energy. Duke Energy fell 2.4 percent.
Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,887 to 1,085. On the Nasdaq, 1,495 issues fell and 1,208 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 32 new 52-week highs and eight new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 90 new highs and 51 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)