Stock Futures Firmer Ahead of Fed Policy Decision

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures indicated a stronger start on Wall Street Wednesday in anticipation of the Federal Reserve's policy announcement.

Futures for the S&P 500 were popping 8.75 points, or 9.51 points above fair value, at 1,551 after falling for a third day after the Cypriot parliament defeated a measure to levy a tax on bank deposits in the small Mediterranean island nation-state that was part of its government's bailout deal with the Eurozone to rescue its banks.

Cyprus is now seeking financial assistance from Russia in lieu of the tax levy proposal to try to avert a full-blown financial crisis, with Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris holding talks with Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov in Moscow on Wednesday. There was no word yet of any agreement, but discussions were continuing.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, meanwhile, met with party leaders to find other ways to help fund the €5.8 billion that the near-bankrupt nation needs, in addition to the European Union and International Monetary Fund's €10 billion bailout.

The European Central Bank has said nothing on the matter beyond that it will provide liquidity as needed.

Futures for the Nasdaq were rising 20.5 points, or 20.48 points above fair value, at 2,800.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 73 points, or 83.18 points above fair value, at 14,461.

Adobe Systems' ( ADBE) fiscal first-quarter results, released on Tuesday, topped analysts' expectations. Adobe posted earnings of 35 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $1.01 billion. Analysts were looking for net income of 31 cents share on sales of $985.2 million. Shares were gaining 5.52% to $43 in premarket trading.

FedEx ( FDX) shares were sliding 3.66% to $102.56 after the delivery service giant lowered its fiscal-year earnings guidance to $6 to $6.20 a share and forecast fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.90 to $2.10 a share, compared with the average analyst estimate of $2.07 a share in the quarter and $6.31 a share for the year. The company spoke of declining international revenues as a growing number of customers shift towards cheaper services.

The Fed concludes its two-day policy meeting Wednesday and is expected to stand pat on policy.

Although the economic outlook has shown a bit of improvement since the Jan. 30 meeting of the central bank, Jan Hatzius and Jari Stehn, economists at Goldman Sachs in New York, said in a note Tuesday night that they expect the Fed's asset purchases to continue until the third quarter of 2014 and do not project a rate hike until early 2016.

"We therefore think it is too early to signal any changes to Fed policy," they said.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. EDT after the announcement.

European markets were firmer following Tuesday's losses. The FTSE 100 in London was rising 0.22% and the DAX in Germany was ahead by 0.41%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished up 0.97%. Japan's Nikkei 225 index was closed for a holiday.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury cooled down by 8/32, bringing the yield to 1.935%. The dollar was falling 0.22%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

May crude oil futures were rising 49 cents to $93.01 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oracle ( ORCL), which reports earnings after Wednesday's closing bell, is expected by analysts to post fiscal third-quarter adjusted earnings of 66 cents a share.

Revenue for the maker of business software is forecast to come in at $9.38 billion in the quarter, which ended in February. In the same period last year, Oracle posted adjusted earnings of 62 cents a share on revenue of $9.04 billion.

Shares were rising 0.48% to $35.86.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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