Wednesday October 11th


Futures point to a weak open as investors gear up for Fed minutes

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly weaker open Wednesday, as investors await the minutes release from the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Dow Jones industrial average futures slipped 15 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 3.25 points and 7.75 points, respectively. At 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the latest minutes from last month's FOMC meeting will be published. While the U.S. central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged in September, the Fed did take its first steps towards unwinding its economic stimulus. Last month, the Fed announced that it would begin to roll off its $4.5 trillion balance sheet during October, in addition to indicating that another rate hike was likely to occur in 2017. Investors will probably pore over the minutes Wednesday for any signs as to what the Federal Reserve may do in the coming months, and what it currently thinks of the U.S. economy. Prior to the minutes release, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans will be in Zurich, Switzerland, where he could comment on current economic conditions and monetary policy at Bloomberg's second annual Swiss Day event. Elsewhere in data news, Wednesday will mark the release of the latest publication of Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), which is set to come out at 10 a.m. ET. In earnings, BlackRock and Delta Air Lines both reported quarterly results that beat expectations. In other news, investors will be keeping a close eye on the U.S. political sphere for any developments surrounding the nation's tense relationship with North Korea. On Tuesday, the U.S. military flew two strategic bombers over the Korean peninsula, as U.S. President Donald Trump met with defense officials to look into how to deal with any threats posed by Kim Jong Un's regime, according to Reuters. On the commodities front, oil prices pushed higher during early trade, as signs of a gradual tightening in the market boosted sentiment. At 7:37 a.m. ET, U.S. crude traded around $51.28 per barrel, while Brent hovered around $56.80. Overseas, European stocks were trading relatively flat in early market trade, while markets in Asia closed on a mostly mixed to higher note. Japan's Nikkei 225 reversed early losses to close up 0.28 percent, or 57.76 points, at 20,881.27 — a two-decade high, Reuters said. The positive mood also extended to greater China, which notched moderate gains. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed down 0.36 percent, or 101.26 points, at 28,389.57. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite edged up 0.18 percent to finish the session at 3,389.0492 and the Shenzhen Composite reversed early gains to closed down 0.183 percent at 2,026.4692. Gold stood little changed on Wednesday after the dollar recouped early losses, with investors awaiting the release of the U.S. Federal Reserve's minutes from its September meeting for clues on further interest rate hikes this year. Spot gold was unchanged at $1,287.70 an ounce by 0409 GMT. It touched its highest level since Sept. 27 in the previous session. U.S. gold futures for December delivery eased 0.3 percent to $1,290 per ounce.