) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, May 1:



U.S. stock futures

were pointing higher ahead of manufacturing data and the

Federal Reserve's

policy announcement.

Economists at Bank of America anticipate the Fed will emphasize that it has the flexibility to either raise or lower its purchase pace, as Chairman Ben Bernanke went out of his way to note at a press conference in March.


-- The

economic calendar

in the U.S. Wednesday includes a rates decision from the

Federal Reserve

, the ADP Employment Change index for April at 8:15 a.m. EDT, the ISM Index for April at 10 a.m., and construction spending for March at 10 a.m.



U.S. stocks

on Tuesday rose after a Conference Board report showed a strengthening in consumer confidence offset indications of business weakness in the Midwest.


S&P 500

added 0.25% to 1,597.54, an all-time closing high. The index rose 1.81% in April.




(FB) - Get Report

, the social media giant, is expected by analysts on Wednesday to report after markets close first-quarter earnings of 13 cents a share on revenue of $1.44 billion.

The focus for investors in Facebook's report will be mobile advertising growth as the company transitions to advertising on handsets and tablets.

TheStreet will be live-blogging Facebook's earnings beginning at 3:45 p.m. EDT.




(AAPL) - Get Report

sold $17 billion worth of corporate debt in the largest corporate non-financial bond offering in history, according to data from



In the six-part offering, Apple sold debt with maturities starting in 2016 and ending in 2043, according to a regulatory filing. As part of the offering, the iPhone maker will be selling $5.5 billion worth of 10-year fixed debt, which will start trading at 75 basis points above comparable U.S. Treasury debt. Currently, the yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury is 1.675%.

Apple will also sell $1 billion worth of three-year fixed rate notes, which will start trading at 5 basis points over the 3-month LIBOR rate.

Apple announced the debt offering as part of its massive capital return to shareholders when it reported earnings earlier this month.





scrapped a deal to buy a 75% stake in online video Web site


because of objections by the French government, reports said.

An acquisition of Dailymotion -- the deal was valued at $300 million -- would have been the biggest deal in the 10-month tenure of Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer,




-- A private-equity group made up of

Bain Capital


Golden Gate Capital

has emerged as the lead contender to buy

BMC Software


for more than $6.5 billion, three people familiar with the matter told






(MRK) - Get Report

posted first-quarter net income of $1.59 billion, or 52 cents a share, down from $1.74 billion, or 56 cents a share, a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings in the quarter were 85 cents a share.

Revenue fell 9% to $10.67 billion from $11.73 billion a year earlier.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 80 cents a share on revenue of $11.09 billion.




(MA) - Get Report

is expected by analysts on Wednesday to post first-quarter earnings of $6.18 a share on revenue of $1.93 billion.




(CMCSA) - Get Report

, the nation's largest cable company, said first-quarter net income rose 17%, powered by continued strong results from its cable operations.

Comcast posted earnings of $1.44 billion, or 54 cents a share, in the first quarter, up from $1.22 billion, or 45 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 50 cents a share.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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Joseph Woelfel

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