Market Hustle: Stock Futures Rise Ahead of Fed Rates Decision

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing higher Wednesday as investors turned their attention to the Federal Reserve, the U.S. current account deficit narrowed and U.K. growth forecasts were upgraded.

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 22 points, or 24.81 points above fair value, to 16,284 while S&P 500 futures were up 3 points, or 2.15 points above fair value, to 1,866.75. Nasdaq futures were up 7.8 points, or 4.78 points above fair value, to 3,702.8.
  • The focus on Wednesday will be the FOMC announcement at 2 p.m. EDT followed by a press conference with Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen. A further $10 billion reduction in the central bank's monthly bond-buying program is predicted. The FOMC announcement also is expected to unveil the abandonment of the 6.5% jobless threshold for considering whether to increase interest rates.
  • Fed officials are also anticipated to provide forward guidance based on a range of economic data, and include qualitative guidance.
  • The U.S. current account deficit fell to its lowest level in 14 years at $81.1 billion in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said.
  • U.S. stocks moved higher Tuesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin calmed markets by assuring there would be no further moves into Ukraine. Weaker-than-expected housing data released Tuesday isn't expected to see the Federal Reserve vary from its course of cutting bond purchases this week.
  • International markets were generally looking to head higher with the FTSE 100 paring losses and trading sideways after the UK's economic growth was upgraded to 2.7% from 2.4% according to Chancellor George Osborne. The DAX in Germany up 0.74%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng settled down 0.07% and the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed up 0.36%.
  • FedEx (FDX) was off 0.41% after results were tarnished by the severe winter weather. The company's full-year outlook disappointed and its fiscal third-quarter earnings of $1.23 a share missed the average analyst estimate of $1.45 on lower-than-expected revenue.
  • General Mills (GIS) reported fiscal third-quarter earnings, missing estimates by 2 cents at 62 cents a share on weaker-than-expected sales in the face of increased competition from store brands and more marketing expenses.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York

More from Markets

Stocks Trade Mixed, Energy Shares Fall on Sharp Drop in Oil Prices

Stocks Trade Mixed, Energy Shares Fall on Sharp Drop in Oil Prices

Best Buy's Billionaire Founder: We Were 'Late to the Game' in Online Shopping

Best Buy's Billionaire Founder: We Were 'Late to the Game' in Online Shopping

Jim Cramer: Intuit Had a Fantastic Quarter

Jim Cramer: Intuit Had a Fantastic Quarter

Jim Cramer on Foot Locker's Earnings: Nike Is a Buy

Jim Cramer on Foot Locker's Earnings: Nike Is a Buy

Jim Cramer: The 10-Year Yield Could Go to 2.75%

Jim Cramer: The 10-Year Yield Could Go to 2.75%