Wednesday July 27th


Wall Street seen higher ahead of Fed announcement

U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday, as European and Japanese stocks gained in early trade ahead of policy announcements from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan. Shares of Apple were more than 7 percent higher in pre-market trade, helping the major stock index futures gain. Apple reported earnings that beat on both the top and bottom line, strong current-quarter revenue guidance, and iPhone and iPad shipments above estimates. In economic news, overall orders for durable goods orders fell 4.0 percent in June. Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft increased 0.2 percent last month, Reuters said. Treasury yields held mostly lower, with the 2-year yield near 0.75 percent and the 10-year yield near 1.55 percent. The U.S. dollar index was a touch higher, with the euro near $1.100 and the yen around 105.6 yen versus the greenback. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)'s decision is due at 2 p.m. ET. No change in interest rates is expected but the wording of the FOMC's statement may hint at the possible timing of its next rate hike. "In another era, there would be massive pressure on the FOMC to raise rates but no-one expects anything from today's meeting. Still, some acknowledgement of the improved economic backdrop is likely in the statement and the market will go on slowly raising the odds of a 2016 rate hike," Kit Juckes, strategist at Societe Generale, said in a note on Wednesday. Dow-listed stocks posting second-quarter results on Wednesday include Boeing and Coca-Cola. There will also be numbers from Comcast, CNBC's parent company and State Street, among others. Facebook will post its results after the close of Wall Street trade. Boeing posted a smaller-than-expected loss for the second quarter and cut its full-year forecast, due to previously announced charges from the 787, 747 and KC-46 tanker aircraft programs. Revenue beat estimates, and while Boeing cut its full-year forecast to account for those charges, its forecast is above Street estimates. The quarterly earnings loss was the first in nearly seven years, Reuters said. Coca-Cola reported earnings that beat on revenue that missed. The beverage maker said international headwinds were more severe than anticipated, and that the macroeconomic environment worsened in the quarter. However, the company did see a 3 percent rise in organic revenue, thanks to better pricing. Comcast, the NBCUniversal and CNBC parent posted earnings that beat on both the top and bottom line, and reported a 3 percent increase in revenue per cable customer over a year ago. The firm also saw good results for its internet and video businesses. Anthem reported quarterly earnings that beat on both the top and bottom line. The health insurer said it remains committed to completing its planned acquisition of Cigna despite a Justice Department lawsuit aimed at blocking the deal. Other data due for release include pending home sales and crude oil inventories. Weekly mortgage application volume fell 11.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed 1.7 percent higher overnight. Media reports suggested the Japanese government would shortly launch a $265 billion fiscal stimulus package and that the Bank of Japan was considering multiple monetary stimulus proposals. These include cutting interest rates further into negative territory, more bond-buying or expanding its stimulus program to include other assets such as exchange-traded funds, according to the Nikkei. The Bank of Japan will start its two-day policy meeting on Thursday. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi was down 2.29 points, or 0.11 percent, at 2,025.05. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index closed up 89.26 points, or 0.4 percent, at 22,218.99. Chinese mainland markets closed lower, with the Shanghai composite down 59.04 points, or 1.94 percent, at 2,991.12, while the Shenzhen composite lost 90.97 points, or 4.44 percent, to end at 1,953.98. Oil prices fell close to three-month lows on Wednesday after U.S. industry data showed weekly oil stocks declined by less than expected, feeding into concerns over persistent oversupply dragging down prices. Global benchmark Brent crude was on track for the first monthly loss since January and the largest of 2016. Futures traded down 55 cents at $44.32 a barrel by 7:15 a.m. ET (1115 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was trading down 28 cents at $42.64 a barrel, close to a three-month low of $42.36 reached on Tuesday. Gold steadied near $1,320 an ounce on Wednesday as traders awaited the outcome of a two-day Federal Reserve policy meeting later, which will be closely watched for any clues on the scale and pace of interest rate hikes this year. Spot gold was $1,325.58 an ounce, up 0.43 percent. U.S. gold futures for August delivery were up $4.40 an ounce at $1,325.20.