Skip to main content

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Federal Reserve's policy-making arm will make headlines when it releases its latest statement on interest rates and the economy Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. EDT, but investors will have plenty else to manage during the session.

The Federal Open Market Committee's decision will ultimately take top billing, as investors are highly anticipating the central bank's outlook on the U.S. economy. When the FOMC last convened in June, its members said the pace of economic contraction appears to be slowing, and conditions in financial markets have generally improved in recent months, although "economic activity is likely to remain weak for a time."

As it has done at its last five meetings, the central bank is expected to maintain a target range for the fed funds rate at zero to 0.25%. Instead, any changes to the Fed's statement about its economic outlook or its plans for quantitative easing will likely move markets.

Also on Wednesday's economic docket, the Census Bureau will post the June trade deficit at 8:30 a.m. EDT, with economists expected the deficit to widen to $28.6 billion from $26 billion in May. In the afternoon, the Treasury Department will release the federal budget for July at 2 p.m. EDT.

Turning to earnings,

Macy's

(M) - Get Macy's Inc Report

,

Sara Lee

(SLE)

and

JA Solar

(JASO)

TheStreet Recommends

will report results for the second-quarter before the start of Wednesday's session, among several others.

After the closing bell,

Advance Auto Parts

(AAP) - Get Advance Auto Parts, Inc. Report

and communications company

Harris

(HRS)

are among those set to report quarterly results.

Energy prices will also be in focus, with the Energy Department set to release weekly inventory levels at 10:30 a.m. EDT. Analysts surveyed by

Bloomberg

expect to see a weekly increase of 1 million barrels in crude oil inventories, which would be the third consecutive gain.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in New York

.