Fed decision, Boeing earnings and McDonald's results: 3 things to watch for on Wednesday

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell holds a news conference following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington, December 11, 2019.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters

Investors are still monitoring the spread of coronavirus around the world, but several other news events could move the markets Wednesday. Here's what you need to know before you hit the door.

Fed decision

The Federal Reserve will discuss its first meeting of the decade on Wednesday. Investors will likely be looking for signs of how global growth and the coronavirus outbreak may influence future rate decisions, and for any hints of operational changes by the central bank.

The market also will pay close to attention to Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech and what he says about the Fed's repo program. The central bank has been active in the overnight funding market since September, leading to rapid build-up of its balance sheet as it tries to keep overnight lending rates stable.

The main interest rate is widely expected to hold steady in the near term at a range of 1.50% to 1.75%. Traders have priced in an 87% chance that the benchmark interest rate will stay the same on Wednesday, according to the CME's FedWatch tool.

Boeing earnings

The beleaguered aerospace company has welcomed a new CEO, pushed back its tentative projections for the return of the 737 Max and secured over $12 billion in financing from banks in just the last month.

Vertical Research Partners downgraded the stock from buy to hold last week, with analyst Robert Stallard saying in a note to clients that the quarter was nearly guaranteed to be "an absolute disaster."

Stallard said Boeing's fourth quarter results will give the company a full-year adjusted loss of $5.44 per share and $81.482 billion in revenue for the year. That translates to an adjusted loss of $4.26 per share for the fourth quarter alone, according to FactSet.

McDonald's earnings

Another key consumer company reports results tomorrow: McDonald's will announce its fourth quarter earnings before the bell.

KeyBanc projects the fast-food company will post $1.99 in earnings per share and 5% growth in same store sales for the fourth quarter. KeyBanc has an overweight rating on McDonald's.

The earnings call may also provide more information about menu changes. The company announced Tuesday that it is adding two new chicken items to its breakfast menu.

The company's stock stumbled last fall, but is up roughly 7% since the beginning of November.

Notable events (all times ET)

8:30 a.m. Preliminary wholesale inventories

10:00 a.m. Pending home sales

2:00 p.m. FOMC decision

2:30 p.m. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell briefing

Post-market earnings:

Major earnings:

Boeing (before the bell)

McDonald's (before the bell)

General Electric (before the bell)

Marathon Petroleum (before the bell)

AT&T (before the bell)

Mastercard (before the bell)

Microsoft (after the bell)

Facebook (after the bell)

Tesla (after the bell)

PayPal (after the bell)

Mondelez (after the bell)