Hopes of additional easing the traders have built against the backdrop of softening economic environment may be put to test, as the D-day has arrived. Reflecting the nervousness of traders ahead of the decision, the U.S. index futures point to a slightly higher opening on Wednesday. The Fed's post-meeting policy statement, updated economic forecasts and press briefing of Chairman Ben Bernanke are expected to be the focal points of the day, as the global economy waddles through muddled waters.
A warning issued by Procter & Gamble (PG) and lackluster guidance announced by tech companies Adobe Systems (ADBE) and Jabil Circuit (JBL) may create some uneasiness about the corporate profit outlook ahead of the second quarter reporting season. The currency market is also searching for direction, with trading muted ahead of the Fed decision. Crude oil is consolidating after yesterday's rally.
As of 6:18 am ET, the Dow futures are up 3 points and the Nasdaq 100 futures are adding 4.75 points, while the S&P 500 futures are down marginally.
U.S. stocks advanced on Tuesday, thanks to hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve will announce stimulatory support in the wake of weakening global economic fundamentals.
The Federal Open Market Committee, the monetary policy-setting arm of the Federal Reserve is due to release the post-meeting policy statement at 12:30 am ET followed by the release of the FOMC forecasts at 2 pm ET. Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a press briefing at 2:15 pm ET.
The Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its weekly petroleum inventory report for the week ended June 15th at 10:30 am ET. A report released by the American Petroleum Institute showed that crude oil stockpiles fell by 550,000 barrels to 385.1 million barrels in the week ended June 15th. While distillate inventories fell by 269,000 barrels, gasoline inventories increased by 1.07 million barrels.
In corporate news, Procter & Gamble lowered its June quarter guidance, citing slower than expected market growth rates and market softness in developed regions along with unfavorable currency translation effects.
Jabil Circuit reported third quarter core earnings that were in line, while its revenues were shy of estimates. For the fourth quarter, the company expects core earnings of 54-66 cents per share on net revenues of $4.1 billion to $4.35 billion. The guidance was soft.
Adobe Systems' second quarter results exceeded estimates. The company guided third quarter non-GAAP earnings to 56-61 cents per share and revenues to $1.075 billion to $1.125 billion. The guidance was soft. The company also narrowed its full year revenue growth guidance to 6-7 percent from 6-8 percent and non-GAAP earnings guidance to $2.40-$2.46 per share from $2.38-$2.48 per share.
La-Z-Boy's (LZB) fourth quarter earnings rose to 37 cents per share, including 19 cents per share in anti-dumping duties, compared to 19 cents per share in the year-ago period, which included a 5 cents per share impairment charge. Sales fell 3.4 percent to $327.39 million, below the consensus expectations.
Apogee (APOG), Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), CLARCOR (CLC), Micron (MU), Red Hat (RHT), Sonic (SONC) and Steelcase (SCS) are among the companies due to release their quarterly results after the markets close.
Most major Asian markets, with the exception of the New Zealand and Chinese markets, closed higher, thanks to the positive lead from Wall Street and Europe overnight. Speculation of stimulus announcement from the U.S. central bank also served to keep sentiment positive.
Japan's Nikkei closed up 96.44 points or 1.11 percent at 8,752, a 1-month high. A majority of the stocks advanced in the session.
Australia's All Ordinaries spiked sharply in early trading, but it retreated steadily over the course of the session yet closed 9.40 points or 0.23 percent higher at 4,177. Energy, material and financial stocks saw modest buying, while defensive stocks came under selling pressure.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended at 19,519, up 102.18 points or 0.53 percent. The New Zealand NZ50 Average was weighed down by a negative domestic current account data for the first quarter. The report showed that the nation recorded its first trade deficit since the 2008 December quarter.
Meanwhile, a report released by Japan's Ministry of Finance showed that the nation recorded a trade deficit of 907.25 billion yen in May compared to the deficit of 583 billion yen expected by economists. Annually, exports and imports rose by 10 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.
The European markets are seeing a lackluster sentiment after advancing yesterday.
The minutes of the June monetary policy meeting of the Bank of England showed that decision to maintain the size of its bond-buying program intact was taken by a 5-4 vote. The minutes also showed that some members were favorably disposed towards additional stimulus, as there was already a sufficiently compelling case for further easing.
U.K.'s jobless claims rose by 8,100 in May, confounding economists, who were looking for a decline of 4,000. That said, the unemployment rate for the three months ended April remained unchanged at 8.2 percent, while average weekly earnings, including bonus were up 1.4 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org