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Stocks May Lack Of Direction Ahead Of Fed Announcement - U.S. Commentary

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After edging up to new record highs in the previous session, stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Wednesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by just 8 points.

Traders are likely to be reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement this afternoon.

The announcement from the Fed is due at 2 pm ET, while Fed Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2:30 pm ET.

The Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, although traders will pay close attention to the accompanying statement for clues about the outlook for policy.

The statement may offer details on how the central bank plans to start shrinking its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.

Shortly after the start of trading, the National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release its report on existing home sales in the month of August. Existing home sales are expected to rise by 0.3 percent.

Among individual stocks, shares of Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) are moving sharply lower in pre-market trading after the home goods retailer reported weaker than expected second quarter earnings and lowered its full-year guidance.

Delivery giant FedEx (FDX) may also see early weakness after cutting its full-year earnings guidance due to the impact of a cyberattack.

Meanwhile, shares of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY) are jumping in pre-market trading after the biopharmaceutical company reported positive results for its treatment of a rare genetic disease.

While buying interest was somewhat subdued, stocks moved modestly higher over the course of the trading session on Tuesday. With the upward move on the day, all three of the major averages ended the session at record closing highs.

The major averages ended the day in positive territory but off their best levels. The Dow rose 39.45 points or 0.2 percent to 22,370.80, the Nasdaq edged up 6.68 points or 0.1 percent to 6,461.32 and the S&P 500 inched up 2.78 points or 0.1 percent to 2,506.65.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped by 0.1 percent.

The major European markets have also shown a lack of direction on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are both down by 0.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are rising $0.54 to $50.02 a barrel after falling $0.43 to $49.48 a barrel on Tuesday. Gold futures, which edged down $0.20 to $1,310.60 an ounce in the previous session, are climbing $5.50 to $1,316.10 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 111.35 yen compared to the 111.59 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2001 compared to yesterday's $1.1994.

by RTT Staff Writer

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