Following the mixed performance seen in the previous session, stocks are likely to move mostly higher in early trading on Wednesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 194 points.
The upward momentum on Wall Street comes ahead of the Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated monetary policy announcement later in the day.
CME Group’s FedWatch Tool is currently indicating a 97.9 percent chance of a 75 basis point increase in interest rates, which would mark the biggest rate hike in nearly 30 years.
On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing an unexpected decrease in U.S. retail sales in the month of May.
The report showed retail sales fell by 0.3 percent in May after climbing by a downwardly revised 0.7 percent in April. Economists had expected retail sales to edge up by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.9 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.
Excluding the steep drop in sales by motor vehicles and parts dealers, retail sales rose by 0.5 percent in May following a 0.4 percent increase in April. Ex-auto sales were expected to advance by 0.8 percent.
A separate report released by the Labor Department showed U.S. import prices increased by less than expected in the month of May.
The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.6 percent in May after rising by a revised 0.4 percent in April.
Economists had expected import prices to jump by 1.1 percent compared to the unchanged reading originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, the report showed export prices surged by 2.8 percent in May following a 0.8 percent increase in April. Export prices were expected to shoot up by 1.3 percent.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York also released a report showing regional manufacturing activity was little changed in the month of June.
Not long after the start of trading, the National Association of Home Builders is scheduled to release its report on homebuilder confidence in the month of June. The housing market index is expected to edge down to 68 in June from 69 in May.
The Commerce Department is also due to release its report on business inventories in the month of April. Business inventories are expected to jump by 1.2 percent.
U.S. stocks swung between gains and losses on Tuesday, with investors largely making cautious moves ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement.
Among the major averages, the Dow and the S&P 500 both extended their losses to a fifth straight session. The Dow, which dropped to 30,144.23 in the final hour, ended the session with a loss of 151.91 points or 0.5 percent at 30,364.83.
The S&P 500 ended lower by 14.15 points or 0.4 percent at 3,735.48 after scaling a high of 3,778.18 and a low of 3,705.68 intraday.
The Nasdaq settled at 10,828.35, gaining 19.12 points or 0.2 percent. The index touched a high of 10,926.81 and a low of 10,733.04 in the session.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 1.0 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are both up by 1.1 percent.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling $0.28 to $118.65 a barrel after tumbling $2 to $118.93 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,835.60, up $22.20 compared to the previous session’s close of $1,813.50. On Tuesday, gold slumped $18.30.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 134.58 yen compared to the 135.47 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0432 compared to yesterday’s $1.0416.
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