Stock futures rise ahead of Fed policy statements

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U.S. equity futures were trading higher ahead of the conclusion of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting.

The major futures indexes suggest a gain of 0.8% when the opening bell rings on Wall Street.


Investors will be focused on an update on how aggressively the Federal Reserve will tackle inflation.

Stocks have gyrated this week amid heightened scrutiny on the Fed’s meeting and whether the U.S. central bank will clarify just how fast it plans to tighten credit and potentially slow the economy. 

Some on Wall Street worry that on Wednesday, the Fed may signal it plans a half-point increase in its key rate. There is also concern that Fed Chair Jerome Powell could suggest that the central bank will raise rates more times this year than the four hikes most economists are expecting.


In other economic news, watch for fresh housing data when the Census Bureau is expected to say that sales of new single-family homes jumped 2.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 in December. That would be the highest since April.

It will be a busy day on the earnings calendar. AT&T and Dow component Boeing kicking things off ahead of the opening bell. In the afternoon the focus will turn to Tesla, Dow member Intel and appliance maker Whirlpool.

In Europe, London's FTSE added 1.3%, Germany's DAX gained 1.6% and France's CAC rose 1.4%.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.4%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2%, while China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.6%.

Ukraine's leaders have assured their country that an invasion from neighboring Russia is not imminent but acknowledged the threat is real and received a shipment of U.S. military equipment to shore up their defenses.

Moscow has denied it is planning an assault, but it has massed an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine in recent weeks and is holding military drills at multiple locations in Russia. That has led the United States and its NATO allies to rush to prepare for a possible war.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES34297.73-66.77-0.19%
SP500S&P 5004356.45-53.68-1.22%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX13539.294893-315.83-2.28%

On Tuesday, shares came well off their lowest points by late afternoon. But another burst of selling in the final hour of trading pulled them lower yet again. Technology stocks were the biggest drag on the market.

Retailers and communications companies also fell. Home Depot fell 1.3% and Netflix fell 5.4%. American Express surged 8.9% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after the credit card company reported that its fourth-quarter earnings rose 20% from a year earlier.

The S&P 500 fell 1.2% to 4,356.45 after having been down as much as 2.8%. The benchmark index has been falling steadily all month and is now down 9.2% from the all-time high it set Jan. 3. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2% to 34,297.73 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gave up 2.3% to 13,539.29.


After the bell, Microsoft shares fell by 4% as demand for cloud-computing services fell short of some expectations on Wall Street. Quarterly profit did rise by 21%.


In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added 26 cents to $85.87 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $2.29 to $85.60 a barrel on Tuesday.

Brent crude, the basis for pricing international oil, picked up 43 cents to $88.62 a barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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