Stock Futures Cautious on Mixed Housing Data, Fed Watch as Adobe Jumps

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were little changed Wednesday as investors digested mixed U.S. housing market data and wait for the Federal Reserve to announce whether it will begin cutting back on the central bank's bond-buying stimulus program.

Futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.5 points, or 1.59 points above fair value, to 1,698.75. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 3 points, or 21.27 points above fair value, to 15,462. Futures for the Nasdaq were ahead by 6.25 points, or 7.87 points above fair value, to 3,190.25.

In company news, Adobe Systems ( ADBE), the maker of creative-suite products like Photoshop and InDesign, said fiscal third-quarter earnings on an adjusted basis fell to 32 cents a share from 58 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue fell 8% in the quarter to $995.1 million. Wall Street expected Adobe to report earnings of 34 cents a share on revenue of $1.01 billion.

Still, shares were gaining more than 6% to $51.06 in premarket trading as investors noted that Adobe has been shifting its business to a subscription-based model. The company said subscription revenue rose 73% to $299.4 million and its Creative Cloud service gained 331,000 paying subscribers during the quarter, surpassing 1 million.

Apple ( AAPL) shares were gaining 1.25% to $461.05. A report by the 9to5Mac blog said Apple's iPhone 5s could be in short supply. Customers in China and Hong Kong could reserve the iPhone 5s starting Tuesday. But just minutes after the phone became available, most models and colors sold out across the country, the blog reported.

FedEx ( FDX) shares were popping 3.23% to $114.25 after the overnight package shipper beat Wall Street estimates as net income rose 7%, driven by growth in each of the company's transportation segments.

BlackBerry ( BBRY) shares were rising 0.99% to $10.66 as the company introduced its new Z30 touchscreen smartphone in Malaysia. The Z30, which features a five-inch display and 1.7 gigahertz processor, has been launched amid the company's efforts to reclaim market share from Samsung and Apple.

The FOMC meeting announcement is expected take place at 2 p.m. EDT, followed by a press conference with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at 2:30 p.m. It's widely expected that the Fed will reduce the pace of its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion while emphasizing that the Fed funds rate will be kept at a low level.

"Tension and excitement build up as we eagerly anticipate the announcement of the policy decision," Joyce Liu, a Singapore-based investment analyst at Phillip Futures, commented in a note.

The Census Bureau reported Wednesday a smaller than expected increase in U.S. housing starts to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 891,000 in August versus the average economist expectation of 917,000 driven by the volatile multi-family sector. Similarly, building permits also rose less than expected to 918,000 compared with expectations of an annual rate of 950,000 due to a slide in the multi-family sector as well. However, gains of 3% in single family permits continued to provide reassurances on the housing market recovery.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.16% and the DAX in Germany was rising 0.47%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng finished down 0.27% while the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed up 1.35%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 1/32, lifting the yield to 2.857%. The dollar was falling 0.06% to $81.09 according to the U.S. dollar index.

December gold futures were falling $7.60 to $1,301.80 an ounce while October crude oil futures were up 76 cents to $106.18 a barrel.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.>

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