Investors await Fed statement

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Futures are pointing to a higher Wall Street open, but the key to today's outcome will no doubt come at 2 p.m. ET, when the Federal Reserve releases its latest policy statement following the FOMC's two-day meeting. The Dow and S&P 500 have barely budged in each of the past two sessions ahead of the Fed statement. (CNBC)

Most Fed watchers don't expect a rate hike this time around, although many anticipate indications that one will come sooner rather than later. (CNBC)

The Bank of Japan surprised markets by announcing it will target zero percent interest rates for 10-year government bonds, a first for the central bank. The decision came amid a reconsideration of the BOJ's approach to boosting economic growth. (CNBC)

Japan's Nikkei climbed nearly 2 percent on news of continued easy monetary policy, and major European averages were also higher. (CNBC)

The global economy remains stuck in a "low-growth trap," the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development warned on Wednesday. The OECD projects in its latest interim economic outlook that worldwide GDP growth will remain flat at about 3 percent in 2016, with only "modest improvement" expected in 2017. (CNBC)

Donald Trump's campaign spending reached a high of nearly $30 million in August, but Hillary Clinton still outspent him by nearly $20 million for the month. Clinton also had more cash on hand, with $68 million at the start of September to Trump's $50.3 million. (CNBC)

U.S. officials say they believe Russia is responsible for an attack on an aid convoy in Syria. The officials said two Russian warplanes were flying above the convoy at the exact time of the strike on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry said Russia had nothing to do with the strike. (Reuters)

Ahmad Rahami was formally charged with using weapons of mass destruction in a federal criminal complaint on Tuesday. The suspect in the Chelsea bombings has also been charged in New York City, as well as in New Jersey for allegedly placing bombs in Seaside Park and Elizabeth. (NBC News)

Protests broke out in Charlotte, North Carolina overnight after police confirmed they had shot and killed a man while pursuing a different individual. Police say Keith Lamont Scott, 43, exited his car while holding a firearm on Tuesday. (NBC News)

T-Mobile US (TMUS) could become a takeover target of NBCUniversal parent Comcast (CMCSA), according to the Wall Street Journal's Heard On The Street column. The paper said such a move could be part of Comcast's plans to launch a wireless service by mid-2017. (WSJ)

BY THE NUMBERS

Today's session will be free of government data distractions, with no economic reports set for release. Oil traders will keep an eye on the 10:30 a.m. ET release of the weekly inventory data from the Energy Department, after a surprise drawdown in yesterday afternoon's API report caused prices to spike.

The latest weekly look at mortgage applications from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed borrowers retreated in force, with total mortgage application volume falling 7.3 percent.

Auto retailer CarMax (KMX) and food producer General Mills (GIS) are the only two earnings reports on the schedule for this morning, while Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), Jabil Circuit (JBL), and Red Hat (RHT) are among a handful of companies set to report after today's closing bell.


STOCKS TO WATCH

Microsoft (MSFT) leads our list of stocks to watch, after the software giant announced a dividend hike and a $40 billion stock buyback program. Microsoft raised its dividend to 39 cents per share from the prior 36 cents.

FedEx (FDX) reported adjusted quarterly profit of $2.90 per share, 9 cents above estimates, with revenue slightly ahead of forecasts for the delivery services company. FedEx also raised its full-year guidance on better-than-expected performance in all its units, following the $4.8 billion purchase of Europe's TNT Express in May.

Cooper Companies (COO) will replace Starwood Hotels in the S&P 500 after the close of trading Thursday, when Marriott's (MAR) acquisition of Starwood is expected to be completed. The medical device maker will be replaced in the S&P MidCap 400 by electricity and natural gas provider Northwestern Corp. (NWE).

Apple's (APPL) iPhone 7 is more expensive to produce than its predecessors, according to a teardown performed by IHS Markit. The teardown indicates that the iPhone 7 costs nearly $225 to produce, about $37 more than the iPhone 6S.

Tesla (TSLA) rolled out a security patch for its cars after China-based researchers said they uncovered vulnerabilities that allowed a remote attack on a Tesla Model S sedan


WATERCOOLER

Lin-Manuel Miranda is singing a new tune. The creator of the breakout hit musical "Hamilton" put his considerable vocal talents to work to put Donald Trump's tweets to melodies. (NBC News)