Stock futures edged lower on Wednesday as investors waited on minutes from the latest meeting of the Federal Reserve. Global markets traded lower.
S&P 500 futures were down 0.25%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 0.28%, and Nasdaq futures declined 0.34%.
The Fed's minutes from its September meeting, out Wednesday afternoon, should showcase how split the central bank was over the health of the U.S. economy and when to raise interest rates. The majority of Federal Open Market Committee members voted to keep rates unchanged near crises levels, though there were three dissenters to that decision.
"The most important aspect of the Minutes will be the extent of disagreement on the Committee over inflation," Societe Generale analysts wrote in a note. "The minutes are likely to reveal a divide between those who think the Fed risks falling behind the curve and those who opt for a risk-management approach to policy, and it will be important to gauge in which direction the centre of the FOMC is leaning."
A rate hike in December currently has a 63% chance, according to CME Group fed funds futures. Chances of a year-end hike increased after the Federal Open Market Committee punted on a September rates hike and said the case for an increase has strengthened.
Global markets were slightly lower, following a selloff in U.S. equities on Tuesday. European markets, including the FTSE 100 in London and Germany's DAX, edged lower as British Prime Minister Theresa May eased her rhetoric over the impending exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union. May offered lawmakers a voice in the Brexit process. The pound sterling rose more than 1% against the U.S. dollar after crumbling to a 31-year low last week.
U.S. stocks sold off on Tuesday after Alcoa (AA) - Get Report made a disappointing start to the third-quarter earnings season. S&P 500 companies are expected to report a 0.8% decline in aggregate third-quarter operating earnings, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Another drop would mark the fifth quarter in a row of earnings declines, a recession not seen since 2009. Excluding energy, earnings growth would likely be 2.5%.
Crude oil prices moved higher on Wednesday, bouncing back from a selloff a day earlier, even as major oil producers increased production. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reported an increase in output in September to its highest level since 2008 even as members were flirting with a production freeze. OPEC increased output to 33.39 million barrels per day in September, up 220,000 barrels. OPEC members agreed to a production freeze at a meeting late last month.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up 0.2% to $50.89 a barrel on Wednesday morning.
Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) - Get Report moved slightly higher on Wednesday after agreeing to acquire Newell Brands' (NWL) - Get Report tools business. The all-cash deal, worth $1.95 billion, is expected to close in the first half of 2017 and should add an adjusted 15 cents a share to Stanley Black & Decker's earnings in the first year. Newell Brands shares jumped 20% in premarket trading.
Fortinet (FTNT) - Get Report slid 15% after weak sales and macro-economic issues in Latin America and the U.K. pressured its third quarter. The cybersecurity company slashed its third-quarter adjusted earnings guidance to 15 cents to 16 cents a share, down from a forecast of at least 17 cents a share. Consensus was for 18 cents.
Barracuda Networks (CUDA) rose more than 10% in premarket trading after topping second-quarter earnings and sales estimates. The company earned an adjusted 21 cents a share, more than double a year earlier, and above estimates of 13 cents a share. Sales increased 12% to $87.9 million, above consensus of $85.3 million.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) - Get Report was upgraded to neutral from underperform at Credit Suisse. The firm said the company has near-term momentum and guidance appears conservative for the second half of the year.