×

All eyes on the Fed on Wall Street; global markets lifted by Bank of Japan

U.S. stock-index futures rose on Wednesday as European and Japanese shares rallied followed the Bank of Japan's major overhaul of its policy and traders awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's announcement.

The Fed will announce its latest policy decision on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET, with Fed Chair Janet Yellen briefing the media at 2:30 p.m. ET. Market consensus is for the central bank to hold its base rate in the 0.25-0.50 percent range and not lift again until December. CME Group's FedWatch Tool puts the probability of no rate change at 85 percent, with a 15 percent change of a hike to 0.50-0.75 percent.


Fed poll

Vote
Vote to see results
Total Votes:

Not a Scientific Survey. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.

A surprise could not be ruled out, according to the head of economic research at Daiwa Capital Markets.

"It is far from the case that all recent data have been soft, with an upside surprise seen to last Friday's CPI figure and (forecasts) of third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth still around 3 percent," Chris Scicluna said on Wednesday in a note.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Bank of Japan announced it would change policy, abandoning its monetary base target in favor of targeting the yield curve for Japanese bonds. It held the deposit rate unchanged at -0.1 percent and said it would maintain its program of bond purchases.

The Japanese Nikkei 225 closed around 1.9 percent higher subsequently, having traded 0.3 percent up on the day before the decision was announced. Japanese banking shares rose to close sharply higher, boosted by the news of no further rate cuts.

European shares also rallied in early trade on the Bank of Japan news.

European stock markets

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
FTSE
---
DAX
---
CAC
---
IBEX 35
---

Analysts at Accendo Markets said the Bank of Japan's move could deter the Fed from an immediate rate rise.

"Market sentiment is being helped by the prospect of accommodative policy for longer, even if the BOJ is struggling to deliver. Hopes are also high that the latter's action leaves the Fed in a bind, forcing it to hold off from hiking at all this year," the analysts said in a note on Wednesday.

Bar the Fed's news, no major data is expected in the U.S. on Wednesday.

Companies posting earnings before the bell on Wednesday included CarMax and General Mills. Bed Bath & Beyond and Red Hat are expected post results after the bell.

—With contribution from CNBC's Arjun Kharpal.