Fed, Saudi Aramco, Dave & Buster's, Lululemon and Gerrit Cole - 5 Things You Must Know Wednesday

U.S. stock futures are mixed ahead of the Federal Reserve's final policy meeting of the year and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding U.S.-China trade negotiations; Saudi Aramco shares post solid gains on their first day of trading in Riyadh; Dave & Buster's tops earnings expectations; Gerrit Cole signs a $324 million deal to pitch for the New York Yankees.
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Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Dec. 11:

1. -- Stock Futures Mixed as Fed Expected to Hold Steady on Rates

U.S. stock futures were mixed Wednesday ahead of the Federal Reserve's final policy meeting of the year and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding U.S.-China trade negotiations.

The Fed, which has lowered interest rates three times in 2019, will wrap up its two-day policy meeting later Wednesday in Washington with a statement that is expected to include no changes to its benchmark interest rate of 1.5% to 1.75%. The central bank also is expected to reiterate its view that only a "material shock" to the domestic economy would knock it from its current wait-and-see stance on future interest rate moves.

Therefore, investor focus has shifted to Donald Trump's chances of delaying tariffs on $160 billion of China-made goods, many of them consumer products, which are set to kick in on Dec. 15. 

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 21 points, S&P 500 futures rose 1.75 points and Nasdaq futures gained 12.50 points.

Stocks closed lower Tuesday amid reports that negotiators for the U.S. and China were working toward an agreement that could delay the additional tariffs from kicking in on Sunday.

2. -- Fed's Interest Rates Announcement, CPI on Wednesday's Calendar

The Federal Reserve's announcement on interest rates at 2 p.m. ET and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's press conference at 2:30 p.m. are the highlights on the economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday.

The calendar also includes the Consumer Price Index for November at 8:30 a.m. and Oil Inventories for the week ended Dec. 6 at 10:30 a.m.

Earnings reports are expected Wednesday from Lululemon Athletica  (LULU) - Get Report, American Eagle Outfitters  (AEO) - Get Report, Tailored Brands  (TLRD) - Get Report, Vera Bradley  (VRA) - Get Report and United Natural Foods  (UNFI) - Get Report.

3. -- Saudi Aramco Shares Jump in Their Trading Debut

Saudi Aramco shares posted solid gains on their first day of trading in Riyadh, boosting the value of the world's biggest oil company - and history's biggest initial public offering - closer to the government's $2 trillion target.

Aramco, known officially as Saudi Arabian Oil Co., raised around $25.6 billion from its IPO in November that valued the state-backed oil giant at $1.77 trillion. Domestic and regional investors bought most of the shares on offer, however, as international funds balked at the tiny 1.5% float and tight trading restrictions on the Tadawul, the Saudi stock exchange.

Aramco shares jumped 10% in the opening minutes of trading - the maximum allowed under Tadawul rules - to change hands at around $9.39 each.

Saudi Aramco's listing is the largest ever, topping Alibaba's  (BABA) - Get Report $25 billion listing in 2014.

4. -- Dave & Buster's Posts an Earnings Beat

Dave & Buster's  (PLAY) - Get Report posted third-quarter adjusted earnings of 10 cents a share, beating analysts' estimates, as revenue jumped 6.1% to $299.4 million.

The owner of a chain of restaurants and arcades also provided solid fiscal-year guidance.

Same-store sales in the quarter declined 4.1% vs. expectations of a drop of 4%. Store count increased 13%. 

"We delivered 6% revenue growth in the third quarter driven by strong new store performance, and are encouraged by our progress advancing our near-term priorities to drive improved performance and sustainable shareholder value,” said CEO Brian Jenkins. “We are successfully executing our plan to drive growth and position the company for long-term success despite comp sales headwinds from increased competition."

The company said it expects fiscal-year revenue of $1.347 billion to $1.354 billion vs. previous guidance of $1.338 billion to $1.359 billion. Comparable-store sales were seen declining 2.5% to 3% vs. prior guidance of down 2% to 3.5%.

Net income for the fiscal year was forecast at $94 million to $98 million. Dave & Buster's previously expected earnings of $91 million to $100 million.

5. – Gerrit Cole Signs 9-Year, $324 Million Deal With Yankees

The New York Yankees signed 29-year-old pitcher Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million contact.

The contract surpasses by $79 million the previous record money for a pitcher – a record that lasted one day - when the Nationals gave Stephen Strasburg $245 million over seven years, according to Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci.

Brian Cashman, the general manager of the Yankees, has called Cole his "white whale." 

Eleven years ago, Cole, then a first-round draft pick, said no to an offer from the Yankees.