U.S. stock index futures rose Wednesday as investors looked ahead to the Federal Reserve’s latest policy decision. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed by 14 points, or 0.05%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures rose 0.13% and 0.16%, respectively. Ford Motor beat analysts’ expectations on the top and bottom lines in its latest quarter, as did coffee chain Starbucks. However, both stocks declined in the premarket. The Fed is scheduled to release its latest policy announcement at 2 p.m. ET. Chair Jerome Powell is also set to hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m. ET. Data from the CME Group’s FedWatch tool shows traders are pricing in an 86% chance the Fed raises rates by 25 basis points. Wall Street will also look for clues on whether the central bank will continue its rate hiking campaign, or if it will pause increases. The announcement will come after a rough session for the market. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all fell more than 1% on Tuesday. Ongoing concerns of contagion in the regional banking sector weighed on markets following the First Republic Bank’s collapse and subsequent takeover by JPMorgan. “There’s still pain throughout the sector,” iCapital’s Anastasia Amoroso said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.” “And the reason why I think the bank action should really matter to the Fed is because, remember, in the last FOMC meeting, Fed Chair Powell really gave us new metrics to watch in terms of whether they’re going to be raising rates or not. And that is the extent of the credit tightening that’s happening in the economy.” Corporate earnings season continues with CVS Health, Yum Brands and Spirit AeroSystems reporting results Wednesday before the open. On the economic front, traders are anticipating the latest ADP jobs data for April. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect a rise of 133,000 jobs last month. The S&P Global U.S. Services PMI data for April is also due. It’s expected to show a reading at 53.7 last month, which is in line with the prior month. April’s ISM non-manufacturing PMI data is forecasted to show 51.8, according to Dow Jones consensus estimates. That’s higher than the 51.2 reading from the previous month. Asia-Pacific markets largely fell Wednesday as investors look ahead to the U.S Federal Reserve’s policy decision overnight. Most economists surveyed by Reuters said said they expect the Fed to hike rates by 25 basis points, with the remainder forecasting a pause. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led losses in the region and tumbled 1.34% in its final hour of trade, led by energy, industrials and healthcare stocks, while the Hang Seng Tech index slid 1.88%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.96% to end the day at 7,197.4, while South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.91% to close at 2,501.4 and the Kosdaq saw a larger loss, falling 1.45% and ending the day at 843.18. Markets in Japan and mainland China are closed for a holiday Wednesday. Oil prices extended losses on Wednesday after plunging 5% in the previous session, as investors fretted about the health of the U.S. economy ahead of an expected Federal Reserve interest rate hike later in the day. Brent futures fell $1.99, or 2.64%, to $73.33 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) fell $2.03, or 2.83%, to $69.63. Gold prices held steady above the key $2,000 level on Wednesday, while investors turned their attention to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision due later in the day. Spot gold held was down 0.27% at $2,010.90 per ounce after rising more than 1% in the previous session, as yields dropped on renewed fears of contagion in the U.S. banking sector. U.S. gold futures were down 0.21% at $2,019.10.
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