Wednesday March 15th

15-03-2017

Futures point to higher open on Wall Street; Fed rate hike eyed

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday morning as traders eyed a probable interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve. The Federal Open Market Committee is poised to announce its second interest rate hike in three months and third in 10 years on Wednesday. The market consensus expects the Fed to lift rates by a quarter point on Wednesday and forecast an upbeat economic outlook for the U.S. The consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.1 percent in February. Retail sales also rose 0.1 percent last month. The Empire State Manufacturing Index for March was 16.4. Futures were little changed after the reports. Treasury yields edged off session lows. Business inventories for January and national association of home builders (NAHB) data for March are both scheduled to be released at 10 a.m ET. On the earnings front Oracle, Guess and Jabil Circuit are all due to report after the market close. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx-600 index was around 0.34 percent higher on Wednesday morning. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite in China closed 0.08 percent higher, while the Nikkei in Japan closed 0.16 percent lower. In oil markets, Brent crude traded at around $51.63 a barrel on Wednesday morning, up 1.39 percent, while U.S. crude was around $48.53 a barrel, up 1.7 percent. Oil prices recovered from three-month lows in the previous session after data showed an unexpected drawdown in U.S. stockpiles. Gold prices edged up on Wednesday on uncertainty over the outcome of the Dutch elections, while markets awaited clues on the pace of U.S. interest rate hikes this year. With an immediate rate increase by the Fed seen as a done deal, investors are focusing on what message the central bank will deliver when it concludes its meeting later on Wednesday. In December the Fed forecast three rate rises this year. Spot gold edged up 0.25 percent to $1,201.35 per ounce. U.S. gold futures were down 0.11 percent at $1,201.30 per ounce.