Fed set to cut rates, GDP report, Apple earnings: 3 things to watch in Wednesday's markets

Jim Bianco: A passive Fed is playing with fire
Jim Bianco: A passive Fed is playing with fire

Here are the most important things to know about Wednesday before you hit the door.

1. Fed likely to cut rates again

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to deliver a third straight interest-rate cut on Wednesday. Nearly 80% of the fund managers, economists and strategists surveyed by CNBC's Steve Liesman expect a quarter point rate reduction this week. However, 63% believe the Fed will pause cutting rates for the remainder of the year. The respondents believe the next cut will come in February, on average.

All eyes will be on chairman Jerome Powell's signal on where the Fed stands in the easing cycle. The Federal Open Market Committee announcement is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. ET, followed by a press conference with Powell at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Wall Street's top economist Ed Hyman said the anticipated cut will be the market's "magic sauce," giving the economy a needed jolt.

2. GDP to slow?

The central bank's rate decision will come hours after the release of U.S. GDP data which is expected to show a further slowdown in the third quarter. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones are estimating gross domestic product increased at a 1.6% annualized pace in the July to September period, down from a 2% expansion in the second quarter.

Consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, has been the driving force of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. However, the recent weakness in retail sales, which fell for the first time in seven months in September, could be a sign that the resilience of the consumer is waning.

3. Big earnings: Apple, Facebook, Starbucks

The earnings season will hit the halfway mark on Wednesday with a slew of quarterly results from high-profile companies including Apple, Facebook and Starbucks.

Apple will disclose its first major hint at how well the iPhone 11 is selling with Wednesday's earnings report including ten days of the sales. Wall Street analysts expect Apple to report $62.9 billion in revenue and $2.84 in earnings per share, according to Refinitiv.

Ride-sharing company Lyft, Yum Brands, chipmaker AMD, Etsy and Volkswagen also report earnings on Wednesday. So far, 78% of the S&P 500 companies that have reported beat analyst expectations, according to FactSet.

Major events (all times ET):

8:15 a.m. ADP Jobs

8:30 a.m. Real GDP (first reading)

8:30 a.m. GDP Prices (first reading)

Major earnings:

General Electric (before the bell)

Yum Brands (before the bell)

GlaxoSmithKline (before the bell)

Simon Property Group (before the bell)

Volkswagen (before the bell)

Apple (after the bell)

Facebook (after the bell)

Starbucks (after the bell)

Lyft (after the bell)

AMD (after the bell)

Etsy (after the bell)

Twilio (after the bell)