Stock futures gained on Wednesday morning ahead of the latest interest rate decision from the Federal Reserve as the recent pop in oil prices eased and Treasury yields backed off multi-year highs. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 90 points, or 0.3%. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures each added 0.2%. Crude oil prices declined slightly after topping $92 on Tuesday, which raised concerns higher energy prices would rekindle inflationary forces and slow the global economy. The 10-year Treasury yield eased on Wednesday after touching the highest yield since 2007 a day before. Investors are hoping that market rates will start to reverse as inflation eases and the Fed backs off from its hiking campaign for good. The Fed is widely expected to hold rates steady at 2 p.m. ET, but investors will be paying close attention to the summary of economic projections and the press conference of Fed chair Jerome Powell for clues as to whether the central bank will hike one more time this year. The Fed hiked its benchmark rate in July to the highest level in more than 22 years. Fed futures prices signals just a slight chance of about 29% that the Fed would raise rates in November. “The number one thing we’re watching for, and what investors are looking for, is where are longer term expectations: Where is that terminal rate,” said Dylan Kremer, co-chief investment officer at wealth management firm Certuity. “And ultimately we expect to downplay any inflationary items that have come out recently, such as the oil markets,” he added. Trading has been mostly quiet so far this week, seemingly on hold ahead of the Fed meeting. On Tuesday, the Dow shed just over 100 points, or 0.3%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.2% each. U.S. Treasury yields dipped slightly on Wednesday, pulling the 10-year yield back from highs not seen in more than 15 years as investors awaited the latest update out of the Federal Reserve. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was down by around 2 basis points to 4.343%, a day after after trading at levels last seen in November 2007. The 2-year Treasury was last lower by nearly 4 basis points at 5.071% after nearing November 2007 highs on Tuesday. The 30-year Treasury yield slipped by more than 1 basis point to 4.414%. Asia-Pacific markets fell across the board as China left its one-year and five-year loan prime rates unchanged and traders brace for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate decision Wednesday stateside. China’s one-year and five-year loan prime rates were held at 3.45% and 4.2% respectively. The region also saw August trade data out from Japan, while wholesale inflation in South Korea jumped for the first time since July 2022. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.66% to close at 33,023.78, while the Topix lost 1% and marked a three-day losing streak. Japan’s trade deficit in August narrowed by two-thirds on a year-on-year basis, while imports and exports recorded a smaller fall than expected. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.46% to end at 7,163.3, also notching a third straight day of losses. In contrast, South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.02% higher at 2,559.77, bucking the wider sell-off, but the Kosdaq was down 0.13% to 882.72. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slumped 0.62% after the LPR announcement, and mainland Chinese markets were also in negative territory, with the CSI 300 falling 0.4% and closing at 3,705.69. Oil prices fell nearly 1% on Wednesday ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision, with investors uncertain when peak rates will be hit and how much of an impact it will have on energy demand. “The oil rally is taking a little break as every trader awaits a pivotal Fed decision that might tilt the scales of whether the U.S. economy has a soft or hard landing,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at data and analytics firm OANDA. Global benchmark Brent crude futures fell by $76 cents, or 0.8%%, to $93.58 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures lost about 0.9%, or 80 cents, to trade at $90.40 a barrel. Prices fell despite U.S. crude oil stockpiles falling last week by about 5.25 million barrels, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday. Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected a 2.2 million-barrel decline. Gold was little changed on Wednesday as investors braced for updated interest rate projections and remarks from Chair Jerome Powell following the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting. Spot gold was steady at $1,931,88 per ounce, holding below its highest level since Sept. 5 reached on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,953.3.
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