US preopen: Stock futures indicate a soft start on Wall Street before Fed minutes

Price: 1,167.00

Chg: 256.60

Chg %: 28.19%

Date: 15:45

Price: 6,942.26 Chg: -19.51 Chg %: -0.28% Date: 15:50

US stock futures were indicating a soft open on Wall Street on Wednesday as market participants geared up for the Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes and Alcoa’s first quarter earnings report, due later.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.11% to 17805 while futures for the S&P500 inched up 0.12% to 2070.

On Tuesday, US markets surrendered session gains to end lower amid worries about the upcoming earnings season which unofficially kicks off Wednesday with results from aluminium company Alcoa.

According to data from Thomson Reuters, first-quarter S&P 500 earnings are projected to have declined by 2.8% from a year ago, which would make the quarter the worst for results since the third quarter of 2009, not long after the US emerged from the Great Recession.

That said, investor sentiment has been boosted by optimism that the Fed will continue to delay its first interest rate hike in nearly a decade. Friday’s underwhelming monthly jobs report certainly gives the Fed more reason to hold off from sharply hiking interest rates.

On Wednesday, traders will be anticipating the release of the latest minutes of the Fed meeting, which could offer more signs of the US central banks stance on the pace of rate increases. Fed speak will be eyed with attention on upcoming comments from New York Fed President William Dudley and Fed Governor Jerome Powell.

As of Tuesday evening July Fed funds futures were pricing in just a 10% chance the Fed would make its first move in interest rates at its June policy meeting.

Oil stocks will be in focus after Anglo-Dutch listed Royal Dutch Shell Group said it would buy BG Group in a deal worth nearly $ 70 billion.

Alcoa and Bed Bath & Beyond report earnings after the US close but before that, focus will be on Rite Aid Corp after the group posted better-than-expected profit for its fiscal fourth quarter.