File photo: Lucas Jackson

New York - Wall Street stocks opened lower on Tuesday following mixed economic data and ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day monetary policy meeting.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 31.66 points (0.19 percent) to 16,749.35.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 2.85 (0.15 percent) at 1,934.93, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 5.68 (0.13

percent) to 4,315.43.

New US home construction and applications for building permits slowed sharply in May, government data showed. Housing starts fell 6.5 percent from an April to an annual rate of just 1.001 million, below the 1.028 million projected by analysts.

But US consumer prices jumped in May, putting in the strongest monthly gain in more than a year. The consumer price index rose 0.4 percent from April, double analyst forecasts for a 0.2 percent rise.

“The combined aspect of the two reports is enough to keep things looking confused in the capital markets,” said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

Investors are watching the Federal Open Market Committee's policy meeting, which wraps up Wednesday with a policy statement and news conference with Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

The Fed is expected to keep its monetary policy on track, but investors are looking for clues on when the central bank will raise benchmark interest rates.