* 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 0.37 pct, S&P 0.37 pct, Nasdaq 0.14 pct (Updates to open)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Oct 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were lower on Tuesday after mixed earnings reports, weak durable goods data and lower crude prices.
Investors are also keeping an eye on the Federal Reserve, which begins its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday.
While expectations of a rate hike this week are low, focus will be on the Fed’s interpretation of economic data and global financial events for a bearing on the timing of a liftoff.
Corporate results remain in sharp focus as investors scrutinize 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, as investors await commentary on the iPhone maker’s business in China 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.
At 9:40 a.m. ET (1340 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was down 64.97 points, or 0.37 percent, at 17,558.08, the S&P 500 was down 7.76 points, or 0.37 percent, at 2,063.42 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 7.15 points, or 0.14 percent, at 5,027.55.
Brent crude prices fell again on Tuesday as worries about a global supply glut worsened. Exxon and Chevron declined nearly 2 percent, and were the biggest drags on the S&P 500.
Eight of the 10 major S&P sectors were down, with the energy sector’s 2.2 percent fall leading the decliners.
Strong results from tech majors and blue chips have helped improve analyst sentiment on quarterly earnings.
S&P 500 earnings are now expected to have declined 2.8 percent in the quarter, compared with a 4.2 percent decline forecast at the start of the month, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Data on Tuesday showed non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft fell for the second straight month, the latest indication that economic growth braked sharply in the third quarter.
The Conference Board’s index of consumer attitudes, which is due at 10:00 a.m., is forecast to remain steady in October from the previous month when it rose to 103.0, the highest since January.
Pfizer’s shares were up 3.5 percent at $35.35, while Merck rose 1.6 percent to $53.79 after the companies reported better-than-expected profits and raised forecasts for the year.
Alibaba was up 6.4 percent at $81.29 after the e-commerce giant reported better-than-expected revenue. Yahoo , which owns a 15 percent stake in Alibaba, rose 4.8 percent.
Ford’s shares skidded 4 percent to $15.06 after its profit missed estimates, while UPS fell 2.5 percent to $103.54 after its revenue missed expectations.
Shares of Twitter, which will post results after the close, were up 1.3 percent.
Grubhub sank 28 percent to $23.13 after its third-quarter results missed estimates.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,133 to 571. On the Nasdaq, 1,458 issues fell and 801 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 3 new 52-week highs and seven new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 16 new highs and 42 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)