Tuesday December 13th

13-12-2016

US futures indicate flat open on Wall Street as investors await Fed decision

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat open on Wednesday as traders awaited an announcement from the Federal Reserve meeting and focused on a slew of economic data. The long-awaited Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting is widely expected to result in an interest rate hike, which would be the second rate rise in a decade. On the data front, the Producer Price Index rose 0.4 percent in November, above the expected 0.1 percent increase. Meanwhile, November retail sales rose less than expected as households cut back on purchases of motor vehicles. Industrial production, capacity utilization and business inventories are all set to be released later on Wednesday morning. On the earnings front, Apogee and Pier 1 Imports are due to report after the bell. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index was around 0.31 percent lower on Wednesday. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite in China closed 0.45 percent lower, while the Nikkei in Japan closed 0.02 percent higher. In oil markets, Brent crude traded at around $55.01 a barrel on Wednesday, down 1.27 percent, while U.S. crude was around $52.14 a barrel, down 1.6 percent. A reported rise in U.S. crude inventories and an estimate that OPEC may have produced more crude in November than previously predicted appears to have undermined a planned cut to production, according to a Reuters report. Gold hovered at slightly firmer levels on Wednesday as investors kept to the sidelines, confident that the U.S. central bank will hike rates, but unsure about guidance for next year. Bullion was supported by a softer dollar ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve announcement later on Wednesday that markets overwhelmingly expect will be an interest rate hike of a quarter percentage point. Spot gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,161.91 an ounce by 7:28 a.m. EDT and U.S. gold futures added 0.4 percent to $1,164.20.