Futures shaved most of their earlier losses Wednesday as investors waited for the outcome of a two-day meeting of the Fed on interest rate policy.
The central bank is expected to announce that it is embarking on a fresh round of economic stimulus measures.
The Fed, which started a two-day meeting on Tuesday, is expected to announce the launch of its Operation Twist program, which would attempt to push long-term borrowing costs lower by rebalancing its $2.8 trillion portfolio of bond holdings to weight it more heavily to longer-term securities. An announcement is due 2:15pm ET.
Apple gained higher after Goldman Sachs raised its price target for the company from $480 to $520. Meanwhile, Apple is expected to announce its new iPhone 5 model on Oct. 4, according to AllThingsD, citing latest market rumors. New CEO Tim Cook is expected to take the stage to reveal the smartphone.
On the earnings front, Oracle turned in earnings that were higher than expected, as well as robust software sales, offering some reassurance to investors hoping that global technology spending is holding up.
Also, Adobe said said its sales outlook for the fourth quarter would be helped by new customer additions, allaying investor fears of a slowdown in its growth.
Also on the tech front, Texas Instruments said its proposed $6.5 billion acquisition of NationalSemiconductor cleared all necessary regulatory reviews.
Meanwhile, General Motors CEO expressed concern about the risk of a recession in the United States, but said pent-up demand was likely because of the need to replace aging cars in the world's largest economy.
Orexigen Therapeutics skyrocketed more than 70 percent after the drugmaker said it plans to start a large heart-safety trial of its obesity drug in 2012 and that positive results could win over regulators who rejected the pill earlier this year.
European shares were lowerafter strong gains in the previous session, with investors taking some money off the table ahead of the conclusion of the Fed meeting.
Meanwhile, the latest minutes of the UK’s central bank, released on Wednesday morning showed members of the bank’s rate setting committee saw an increased likelihood of further monetary easing link—if economic conditions did not improve significantly.
The news followed the latest IMF's forecast for UK economic growth which it cut from 1.7 percent for 2011 to just 1.1 percent.
In economic news, the Mortgage Bankers Association said applications for home loans edged upfor the week ending Sept. 17. The prior week showed an increase of 6.3 percent.
Existing home sales data for August is also due from the National Association of Realtors at 10 am New York time. Economists polled by Reuters predict a 2.7 percent increase for August, following a 3.5 percent decline in July.
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On Tap This Week:
WEDNESDAY: Existing home sales, oil inventories, FOMC mtg announcement, Coca-Cola analyst mtg
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, FHFA home price index, leading indicators, Geithner speaks at Global Economy Summit; Earnings from Discover Financial, FedEx, Nike
FRIDAY: IMF/World Bank annual mtg; Earnings from KBHome
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