Stocks held higher on Wednesday as investors awaited a policy decision from the Federal Reserve.
The S&P 500 was up 0.5%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.4%, and the Nasdaq climbed 0.53%.
The Fed will conclude its two-day meeting mid-afternoon Wednesday. 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.
"Should the FOMC choose to be headstrong and tear down conventional wisdom -- a small possibility with two prime dealers coming out and calling for a rate hike -- global markets will be shocked," said Christopher Vecchio, currency analyst at DailyFX, in a note.
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.
Crude oil jumped on Wednesday morning after the latest weekly reading on U.S. inventories showed a major decline of 6.2 million barrels. Worries over domestic oversupply and international production at records have dragged on crude prices since oil's massive descent a year ago.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil added 2.1% to $45 a barrel on Wednesday morning.
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.
Adobe (ADBE - Get Report) rose 7% 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 - Get Report) climbed 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 - Get Report) rose nearly 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 - Get Report) 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 - Get Report) 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 - Get Report) moved 6% 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.
Viacom (VIA.B) fell after halving its quarterly dividend to 20 cents a share and revising its fourth-quarter earnings outlook. The media company anticipates earnings no higher than 70 cents a share, well below consensus of 91 cents. The company said Interim CEO Tom Dooley would leave the company on Nov. 15, and it also has ended its search for a minority investor in its film unit, Paramount Pictures.
Allergan (AGN - Get Report) 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.