U.S. Stocks May Open Higher Ahead Of Fed Announcement

After starting the week on a positive note, stocks may continue to recover from last week’s sell-off 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 94 points.

The upward momentum on Wall Street comes ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement this afternoon.

The Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, but investors are likely to pay close attention to any tweaks to the accompanying statement.

The central bank’s latest economic projections may also attract attention, with many economists expecting the Fed to forecast near-zero rates for years to come.

However, the positive sentiment may be partly offset by a report from the Commerce Department showing much weaker than expected retail sales growth in the month of August.

The Commerce Department said retail sales rose by 0.6 percent in August after climbing by a downwardly revised 0.9 percent in July.

Economists had expected retail sales to surge up by 1.0 percent compared to the 1.2 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding sales by motor vehicles and parts retailers, retail sales climbed by 0.7 percent in August after leaping by a downwardly revised 1.3 percent in July.

Ex-auto sales were expected to increase by 0.9 percent compared to the 1.9 percent spike originally reported for the previous month.

Shortly after the start of trading, the National Association of Home Builders is scheduled to release its report on homebuilder confidence in the month of September. The housing market index is expected to come in unchanged after jumping to 78 in August.

The Commerce Department is also due to release its report on business inventories in the month of July. Business inventories are expected to inch up by 0.1 percent.

Stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday, although the Dow gave back early gains to end the session nearly unchanged. The broader Nasdaq and S&P 500 both closed firmly in positive territory.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 133.67 points or 1.2 percent to 11,190.32 and the S&P 500 climbed 17.66 points or 0.5 percent to 3,401.20, while the Dow inched up just 2.27 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 27,995.60 after rising by nearly 240 points in early trading.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.4 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed amid cautious trading. While the German DAX Index has inched up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.2 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are advancing $0.86 to $39.14 a barrel after jumping $1.02 to $38.28 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $1,976.70, up $10.50 compared to the previous session’s close of $1,966.20. On Tuesday, gold rose $2.50.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 104.87 yen compared to the 105.44 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.1859 compared to yesterday’s $1.1847.

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