U.S. stocks are seen opening higher Wednesday, with investors eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the latest Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting.
At 7:05 AM ET (1105 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 180 points, or 0.5%, S&P 500 Futures traded 20 points, or 0.5%, higher, while Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 50 points, or 0.4%.
The Fed concludes its latest two-day gathering later Wednesday, and is set to release a statement at 2 PM ET (1800 GMT) along with its new economic forecasts and expected path of interest rate movements.
Investors are also looking for details about when exactly the central bank plans to begin tapering its bond buying, information that will likely guide market sentiment for the next month or so.
“As a base case, we expect the Fed to formally announce a tapering of its asset purchases in November, with the first reduction in purchases starting in December,” said Bill Diviney, senior economist at ABN Amro, in a note.
Sentiment has been boosted ahead of this announcement Wednesday by China Evergrande Group (HK:3333) stating it would make a coupon payment on a domestic bond, offering a measure of relief to investors worried about the giant property developer defaulting.
In corporate news, General Mills (NYSE:GIS) and Blackberry (TSX:BB) will report quarterly earnings Wednesday, while the focus will also be on FedEx (NYSE:FDX) after the delivery company reported disappointing first-quarter earnings, citing supply chain issues and a labor crunch.
Stitch Fix (NASDAQ:SFIX) will also be in the spotlight after the online personal styling service reported strong quarterly earnings, while sports betting operator DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) raised its offer for U.K.-based Entain to over $16 billion.
Crude prices pushed higher Wednesday as industry data pointed to a sharp drop in U.S. oil stocks last week in the wake of the two recent hurricanes that hit the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
The American Petroleum Institute reported U.S. crude stockpiles fell just over 6 million barrels last week, a much bigger decline than the 2.4 million barrel drop expected.
That would be a seventh straight weekly decrease if data from the Energy Information Administration later Wednesday confirms it, and indicative of lingering supply disruptions.
By 2:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.6% higher at $71.62 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 1.4% to $75.42.
Additionally, gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,775.05/oz, while EUR/USD rose 0.1% to 1.1732.