Stock futures climbed after the Bank of Japan made moves to tackle deflation, while U.S. investors awaited a policy decision from their own central bank.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.35%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 0.34%, and Nasdaq futures climbed 0.44%.
The Bank of Japan didn't introduce further stimulus on Wednesday, though did introduce a new 10-year interest rate target following an internal review of its current policies. The new "yield curve control" program will keep long-term yields at around 0% as a means to achieve 2% inflation and price stability.
The central bank also maintained its current negative interest rate of minus 0.1%, a measure it adopted in January designed to spur economic growth by boosting business and consumer lending.
Investors now look toward the Wednesday afternoon announcement from the Federal Reserve once its two-day meeting concludes. While recent industrial, retail and inflation numbers have reduced the chances of a September hike, Fed Chair Janet Yellen could still push more hawkish rhetoric that could cause market waves. Fed members recently have tweaked their language to suggest more confidence in raising rates sooner than later.
"A more assertive Fed will emerge at this week's FOMC meeting," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial. "While we don't believe the policy makers will raise rates at the upcoming meeting, we foresee a more hawkish group emerging to prepare the markets for a rate increase in December."
The chances of a rate hike in September sit at 15%, according to CME Group fed funds futures. Most analysts are betting on a rate hike in December, which has a 48% likelihood.
An announcement and forecasts will be released at 2 p.m. EDT, followed by a press conference from Yellen at 2:30 p.m.
Adobe (ADBE) rose more than 4% after topping earnings and sales estimates in its recent quarter. The software company earned 75 cents a share, 2 cents higher than expected. Revenue climbed nearly 20% to $1.46 billion, edging past estimates by $10 million.
KB Home (KBH) climbed 2.5% following a mixed third quarter. The homebuilder earned 42 cents a share, besting forecasts by 3 cents. Revenue of $913.3 million came in 8.3% higher than a year earlier, but missed estimates by nearly $31 million. Hopes were higher heading into the quarter as the U.S. housing sector benefits from strong demand and constricted supply.
Target (TGT) rose more than 1% after authorizing a new $5 billion stock repurchase program. The retailer will begin the new buybacks once it repurchases $1.2 billion worth of stock currently remaining in its $10 billion buyback program. Target also announced a quarterly dividend of 60 cents a share, payable on December 10 to shareholders of record on November 16.
Microsoft (MSFT) added 1% after hiking its quarterly dividend to 39 cents a share from 36 cents. The tech company also authorized a $40 billion buyback program. Microsoft will complete its current $40 billion program, set in September 2013, by the end of the year.
General Mills (GIS) was under pressure after reporting weaker sales than anticipated in its fiscal first quarter. The packaged foods company reported a 7.1% decline in quarterly revenue, while organic sales slid 4%. Retail sales in the U.S. declined 8%, dragged on by a 12% decline in volume. CEO Ken Powell said the company's sales performance did not meet "expectations due to the challenging macro environment, a difficult year-over-year comparison, and a slower start to the year on certain businesses."
FedEx (FDX) moved 4% higher after beating analysts' estimates over its fiscal first quarter. The delivery company earned $2.90 a share, coming in 12 cents above estimates. Sales soared nearly 20% to $14.7 billion, exceeding consensus by $890 million. FedEx also lowered its fiscal 2017 guidance.
Allergan (AGN) extended its recent buying spree on Tuesday evening, snapping up privately held company Akarna Therapeutics for $50 million. The drugmaker agreed to acquire Tobira Therapeutics (TBRA) on Tuesday for $1.7 billion, a 500% premium to its close before the announcement. Allergan agreed to acquire Vitae Pharma (VTAE) in a $639 million deal last week.