Wednesday October 12th


FOMC minutes set to cause a stir on Wall Street; oil eyed

U.S. stock index futures futures to a flat to slightly lower open on Wednesday, as investors prepared themselves for the release of Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) latest set of minutes, while watching the oil price moves. Amid discussion around the upcoming U.S. election and fluctuation in the oil price, the U.S. Federal Reserve is back on the table with the minutes from its September meeting, due at 2.00 p.m. ET. Investors will be poring over the minutes to spot any indications of when the U.S. central bank may choose to raise interest rates, while looking out for what the institution thinks about the current state of the economy. Ahead of the release, New York Fed President William Dudley is expected to participate in a fireside chat with the Business Council of New York State in Albany, New York. On top of that, Kansas City Fed President Esther George is due to appear at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Annual Payments Symposium in Chicago on Wednesday. Aside from the Fed, investors will be also keeping an eye on the fluctuating moves seen in the oil price. Prices posted some gains early on Wednesday, boosted by news of record Indian oil imports and hopes of an output cut by leading OPEC producers. Around 8:15 a.m. ET, U.S. WTI stood around $51 per barrel, while Brent crude hovered around $52.65 a barrel. Investors will also be on the lookout for the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) release, due out at 10 a.m. ET. Mortgage applications, meanwhile, fell 6 percent last week. On the earnings front, CSX Corporation is set to release its third-quarter financial and operating results after the market close on Wednesday. European stocks traded mixed to lower in morning trade, while Asia-Pacific indexes mostly fell into negative territory overnight. The Kospi finished up 0.09 percent, or 1.8 points, at 2,033.73, after wavering between negative and positive territory throughout the session. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index closed down 1.09 percent, or 184.76 points, at 16,840, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed 0.95 percent in Asian afternoon trade. Mainland Chinese markets were also lower; the Shanghai composite finished 0.2 percent, or 6.121 points, at 3,059.129, while the Shenzhen composite closed up 0.168 percent, or 3.433 points, at 2,047.119. In the previous session, U.S. markets closed lower. Gold rose on Wednesday as the dollar steadied though analysts said the likelihood of higher U.S. rates later this year was likely to keep prices under pressure, while oversupply pushed platinum to its lowest since April. Spot platinum was up 0.6 percent at $950.4 an ounce after falling to $939.60 earlier, its lowest since touching $936.81 on April 6. Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,254.62 an ounce. Last week it fell to $1,241.20, its lowest since early June as speculators cut bets on higher prices. U.S. gold futures rose 0.02 percent to $1,254.52 an ounce.