Futures Edge Up Ahead of Fed 'Twist' Call
U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street on Wednesday as investors turned their attention away from the G20 Summit and the euro zone crisis and concentrated instead on domestic concerns.
Those domestic concerns largely centered around whether the Federal Reserve , which concludes its two-day, monthly policy meeting on Wednesday, would restart its government asset swap program known as “Operation Twist” in order to help provide greater liquidity to the U.S. economy.
Signs that the economy has been slowing in response to the euro zone crisis, plus various policy speeches from different members of the Fed’s governing council in the last few weeks, have suggested the arguments for and against restarting Operation Twist are likely to be finely balanced.
The Fed makes its announcement at 12:30 a.m. New York time. Interest rates are unlikely to change.
Historically speaking, Fed meeting days have been positive for the market, at least since the dawn of the financial crisis in 2008.
The Standard & Poor's 500 has gained an average 0.74 percent on Fed meeting days since the central bank began its zero interest rate policy.
The only other economic report due out on Wednesday is the weekly read of the housing market from the Mortgage Banker’s Association (MBA) for the week ending May 16.
In corporate news, Indenix Pharmaceuticals shares surged 12 percent on positive testing news for its hepatitis C drug IDX184.
Tesla Motors jumped 5 percent on an upgrade from Goldman Sachs.
Adobe Systems fell 5 percent after it cut its full-year revenue outlook, suggesting that weak demand in Europe could affect sales of recently launched versions of its popular design software.
Procter & Gamble forecast that annual earnings for its coming fiscal year would be either flat or up by a mid-single digit percentage amount, with underlying sales set to show a 2 to 4 percent increase.
After stripping out foreign exchange effects, core earnings per share are expected show growth in the mid-to-high single digit percentage range in the fiscal year beginning July 1, P&G said on Wednesday.
FSI International forecast a weak fourth quarter as customers delay spending amid the global economic slowdown, sending the company's shares down 15 percent in after-hours trading on Tuesday.
Jabil Circuit forecast fourth-quarter results below analysts' estimates on Tuesday, blaming stagnating sales, but the electronics maker's shares rose on expectations that it retained a key mobile phone customer.
A Manhattan federal judge has decided against JPMorgan Chase in a lawsuit over losses on securities backed by risky home equity loans.
The ruling could open the door to further claims by insurers seeking to hold banks responsible for such losses.
Earnings released on Wednesday include BedBath&Beyond and Red Hat, both coming after the closing bell.