Futures Mixed Ahead of Fed; Apple Surges
U.S. stock index futures struggled for direction Wednesday as investors digested a handful of corporate earnings and ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy statement.
Meanwhile, the euro zone debt crisis and the state of the global economy will likely be the main topics of discussion as political and business leaders meet for the annual World Economic Forum in Davos this week, which is due to be officially opened by German chancellor Angela Merkel later on Wednesday.
And the Federal Reserve is set to issue its latest policy statementat 12:30pm ET, followed by chairman Ben Bernanke’s news conference at 2:15pm. The Fed is widely expected to keep monetary policy unchanged with forecasts expected to show interest rates will be near zero.
The central bank is also expected to release details of where members expect the federal funds rate to be at the end of each of the next three years, and when they expect the first rate hike to occur.
Apple surged after the iPod maker's quarterly results blew past expectationsafter U.S. consumers snapped up near-unprecedented numbers of iPhones and iPads. Apple is very close to becoming the biggest U.S. company by market capitalization, topping oil giant ExxonMobil .
United Tech edged higher after the diversified manufacturer reported a 10.5 percent jump in earnings. Meanwhile, fellow Dow component Boeing said its profit gained, thanks to stronger commercial airplane deliveries.
Elsewhere, Advanced Micro Devices dropped after the chipaker beat earnings estimates, but revenue missed slightly.
Fellow chipmaker SanDisk is scheduled to post earnings after-the-bell tonight in addition to Amgen , Netflix and Symantec .
Roche Holding is offering $5.7 billion in cash to buy U.S. gene sequencing company Illumina in a hostile takeover bid.
U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil resumed work at its $15.7 billion liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea, a day after a landslide swept through two nearby villages killing at least four people.
On the economic front, weekly mortgage applications retreated, giving back some of the previous week's gains as interest rates climbed, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors is scheduled to issue the latest pending home sales data for December at 10 am ET with economists polled by Reuters forecasting a 1.0 percent fall compared with a 7.3 percent rise the previous month.
At the State of the Union address, Obama proposed sweeping changes in the tax code—most notably, a minimum 30 percent effective rate on millionaires—to eliminate inequalities that allow the wealthy to pay lower rates than the middle class.
And a new proposal to ease the way for more American homeowners to get mortgage relief and to pay for the plan with a fee on banks blamed for helping create the housing crisis also struck a strong note of populism.
—Follow JeeYeon Park on Twitter: twitter.com/JeeYeonParkCNBC—
Coming Up This Week:
WEDNESDAY: FHFA house price index, pending home sales, oil inventories, FOMC meeting announcement, Bernanke press conference; Earnings from Amgen, Netflix, SanDisk, Symantec
THURSDAY: Durable goods orders, jobless claims, new home sales, leading indicators, 7-yr note auction; Earnings from AT&T, Caterpillar, 3M, Nokia, AutoNation, Bristol-Myers, Time Warner Cable, Motorola Mobility, Starbucks
FRIDAY: GDP, consumer sentiment; Earnings from Chevron, P&G, DRHorton