Dow futures rise 15 pts; caution ahead of Fed rate decision

  • Stock Market News
Dow futures rise 15 pts; caution ahead of Fed rate decision

By Peter Nurse -- U.S. stocks are seen opening largely unchanged Wednesday, amid a degree of nervousness ahead of the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate decision.

At 07:00 ET (11:00 GMT), the Dow futures contract was up 15 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 futures traded just 1 point higher, while Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 20 points, or 0.2%.

The main averages posted strong gains on Wall Street Tuesday, helped by an easing of tensions in the banking sector after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen indicated that U.S. authorities would offer more assistance to regional banks, if needed, following the support given to depositors of the Silicon Valley Bank after its collapse earlier this month.

“Similar actions could be warranted if smaller institutions suffer deposit runs that pose the risk of contagion,” Yellen said.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gained over 300 points, or 1%, the broad-based S&P 500 rose 1.3%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed 1.6% higher.

Attention now switches to the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy-setting meeting later in the session, with the U.S. central bank widely expected to increase rates by a dovish 25 basis points.

Along with the rate decision, the Fed will release the dot-plot forecasts for unemployment , inflation , and economic growth. Investors will be comparing the newest forecasts with the ones from December to gauge how much the Fed’s thinking is changing given the turmoil in banking in recent weeks.

That said, despite this turbulence, the Fed is still fighting inflation, and further evidence of the continued global pressure on prices came with the release of a jump in U.K. consumer prices for February.

The U.K. CPI rose 1.1% on the month, well above the 0.6% rise expected, taking the headline annual rate back up to 10.4% from 10.1%. Analysts had expected it to fall below 10% for the first time since August.

In corporate news, Nike (NYSE: NKE ) stock fell 0.9% premarket after the athletic footwear manufacturer warned of margin pressures as it continues to get rid of excess inventory through heavy discounting. That said, it still raised its full-year revenue outlook.

GameStop (NYSE: GME ) stock soared over 50% after the videogame retailer posted a surprise profit for the fourth quarter , its first since early 2021, while quarterly earnings are also expected from the likes of online pet products retailer Chewy (NYSE: CHWY ) and home builder KB Home (NYSE: KBH ).

Oil prices fell Tuesday after industry data unexpectedly pointed to another week of rising U.S. inventories, a sign fuel demand may be weakening in the world’s largest consumer.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute , released late Tuesday, showed U.S. crude stocks rose by about 3.3 million barrels last week, defying expectations for a drawdown of about 1.4 million barrels.

Confirmation of a rise by the official inventory data, due from the U.S. Energy Information Administration later this session, would see inventories growing for 12 of the past 13 weeks.

By 07:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.3% lower at $69.46 a barrel, while the Brent contract dropped 0.3% to $75.09.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,945.65/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.3% higher to 1.0794.

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