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US futures rise as Wall Street shakes off geopolitics and looks to Fed minutes

  • It's all about the Federal Reserve, as the latest minutes from its meeting in December are set to be released. Due out at 2 p.m. ET
  • In earnings, Commercial Metals, UniFirst and Rite Aid are due

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday, as investors turned their attention away from geopolitical tensions and toward upcoming economic news and data.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 43 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 4.25 points and 13 points, respectively.

In the previous session Tuesday, the first trading day of 2018, U.S. markets finished trade in the black with the Dow closing above 100 points.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

In data news today, all eyes are on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes. The document, due out at 2 p.m. ET, will contain the minutes of the U.S. central bank's most recent meeting.

In December, the institution raised interest rates by a quarter point and hiked its growth outlook for the U.S. economy. Investors are expected to pore over the minutes to see if the Fed provides any additional clues as to how the U.S. economy is currently performing.

On the data front, mortgage applications fell in the last week of 2017 as rates rose. The manufacturing ISM report on business and construction spending are both due out at 10 a.m. ET.

Geopolitics will also continue to put global markets on edge during today's session. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted that his "nuclear button" was "much bigger and more powerful" than the one controlled by North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.

The U.S. incumbent's tweet comes after a New Year's Day address from Jong-un, who said the isolated state's nuclear weapons could reach anywhere in the U.S.

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Trump also threatened via Twitter to cut off U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority, questioning why the U.S. should make "any of these massive future payments" when Palestinians are "no longer willing to talk peace." Markets traded higher Wednesday despite the geopolitical uncertainty.

In earnings, Commercial Metals, UniFirst and Rite Aid are due.