NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were straddling the flat-line Wednesday ahead of a widely expected announcement from the Federal Reserve of a new bond-buying program.
It's widely anticipated the central bank will announce a $40 billion to $45 billion a month Treasury purchase program targeted on longer-dated Treasuries, expanding total purchases per month, including mortgage-backed securities, to $85 billion.
European stocks were trading mixed while Asian shares ended Wednesday's session with slight gains despite North Korea's latest test launch of a long-range rocket. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6% to 9,581.46
In addition to the Fed announcement Wednesday afternoon, the economic calendar in the U.S. includes import and export prices at 8:30 a.m. EST.
U.S. stocks on Tuesday held onto gains despite a final-hour scare by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's comments on the so-called fiscal cliff. Stocks initially were buoyed by confidence over fiscal-cliff negotiations and an upbeat economy in Germany, Europe's largest nation. But Reid emerged Tuesday afternoon to tell reporters that he believed it would be "extremely difficult" for legislators to reach a deal to avoid the cliff before Christmas. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 79 points, or 0.6%, on Tuesday to close at 13,248.
Costco Wholesale (COST), the warehouse retailer, said Wednesday that fiscal first-quarter profit jumped 30% as sales and membership fees rose.
Molycorp (MCP), the rare-earth mining company, said Tuesday its president and CEO, Mark Smith, resigned.
Chesapeake Energy (CHK) will sell most of its remaining midstream assets for $2.16 billion as it sells off assets to pay off a heavy debt load.
Facebook (FB) is to replace Infosys (INFY) on the Nasdaq-100 before trading opens Wednesday.
Joy Global (JOY) is expected by analysts Wednesday to post fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $1.91 a share on revenue of $1.42 billion. -- Written by Joseph Woelfel
>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV