By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – U.S. stocks are set to open higher Wednesday, ahead of the latest Federal Reserve meeting as confidence grows that the worst of the Covid-19 crisis may be over.
The Federal Reserve concludes its two-day policy meeting later Wednesday. A change in rates is not expected after its largesse last time, so attention will be focused on any guidance the Fed has about the trajectory of the economy and Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference.
Analysts at Nordea noted that Powell hinted about more easing measures at his last press conference.
“The Fed could also opt to go for some more exotic (read: even more controversial) measures such as buying equities or commodities,” said Nordea, in a research note. “Although this is not our forecast, we would not rule out such a scenario.”
This comes as an increasing number of U.S. states start reopening their economies, the Trump administration ramps up the number of virus tests available and a number of companies try to speed up the time frame for a possible vaccine.
The corporate earnings season continues Wednesday, with the likes of Boeing (NYSE:BA) and General Electric (NYSE:GE) reporting early and tech giants Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) after the close.
GE noted that the Covid-19 crisis hit its first-quarter results to the tune of $700 million, although revenues still came in ahead of expectations. GE shares traded 0.7% higher premarket.
Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares were 8% higher premarket after Google’s parent sounded a cautiously optimistic note that the steep drop-off in ad revenues in March was starting to moderate.
Shares in Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) were 1.3% lower premarket after the coffee giant posted late Tuesday its first quarterly sales decline since 2009, saying conditions will likely worsen in the current quarter.
In economic data, the advance measure of first-quarter gross domestic product is due at 8:30 AM ET (12:30 GMT). This is expected to show the economy contracted at an annual rate of 4%, which would be the biggest contraction since 2009.
U.S. oil prices were higher amid volatile trading Wednesday. The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday a weekly climb of nearly 10 million barrels in U.S. crude supplies, but this was less than expected.
Inventory data from the Energy Information Administration will be released later Wednesday.
Stocks – U.S. Futures Point Higher Ahead of Fed Meeting
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