Futures flat as investors focus on Fed meeting

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(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors awaited clues from the Federal Reserve meeting on whether the central bank will raise interest rates for a third time this year.

* The policy statement and projections are due to be released at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT). Fed Chair Janet Yellen will hold a press conference half an hour later.

* The Fed is likely to say that it will start unwinding its holdings of about $4.2 trillion in bonds and mortgage-backed securities from October.

* While a September interest rate increase is not expected, investors will closely study Yellen’s views on inflation.

* Though inflation remains stubbornly below the Fed’s 2- percent target rate, a recent data showed uptick in domestic consumer prices, which raised the chances of a December rate hike by more than 50 percent.

* Traders now bet the odds of a December move at 56.4 percent, compared with 46.8 percent a week ago, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

* The three major U.S. stock indexes closed at record highs on Tuesday, with the financial stocks providing the biggest boost.

* Economic data includes a report on existing home sales that is likely to show it increased 0.3 percent in August, after falling to its lowest level in 11 months in July that signaled a slow recovery in the housing market. The data is due at 10:00 a.m. ET.

* Oil prices were set for their largest third-quarter gain in 13 years, after the Iraqi oil minister said OPEC and its partners were considering extending or deepening supply cuts. [O/R]

* Adobe (ADBE.O) fell 2.30 percent in premarket trading after the Photoshop maker’s revenue forecast came in line with estimates.

* Fedex (FDX.N) was down 1.39 percent after the package delivery company’s quarterly profit took a hit from a cyberattack and it cut its full-year earnings forecast.

* Pfizer (PFE.N) was up more than 1 percent after Morgan Stanley upgraded stock to “overweight”.

* Western Digital (WDC.O) slipped 3.36 percent after Reuters reported Japan’s embattled Toshiba (6502.T) has chosen a group led by private equity firm Bain Capital to buy its prized memory chip unit.

* Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY.O) sank more than 13 percent after the home furnishing retailer reported earnings and sales below estimates, prompting a slew of price target cuts.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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