U.S. Futures Poised For Higher Open Ahead Of Fed Meeting

  1. U.S. stock index futures poised for higher open

U.S. stock index futures are set for a higher open on Tuesday as investors look ahead to Federal Reserve’s two-day monetary policy meeting. Most market participants expect the Fed to adopt a cautious tone and lower its interest rate forecasts to show little or no further tightening this year.

At around 6:22 a.m. EDT, the blue-chip Dow futures indicated a gain of 80.5 points, or around 0.31% to 26,045.5. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 22.50 points, or 0.31% to 7,383.25, while the S&P 500 futures were up 8.12 points, or about 0.29% to 2,848.62.

  1. Here comes Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting

The Federal Reserve kick offs its two-day policy Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting today. It will issue its interest rate decision, closely watched statement and economic forecast at 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday March 20. Fed chairman Jerome Powell is also expected to hold a news conference half an hour later.

The central bank is less likely to hike or cut interest rate. In fact, most market participants feel that a rate hike is the least likely scenario. Options markets are currently pricing in a 1.3% chance that the Fed will cut rates, and a 98.7% chance that it will not.

  1. UK parliament speaker throws Theresa May’s Brexit plans into turmoil

UK speaker of parliament John Bercow on Monday threw Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans into further turmoil. Bercow told May that she could not bring forward proposals for a third vote in parliament without substantial changes.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay suggested that the government will attempt to get May’s deal through parliament, despite Bercow’s ruling. British pound inched up 0.16% to $1.3277 at around 7:44 a.m. EDT.

  1. American Petroleum Institute Report

At 4:30 p.m. EDT, the American Petroleum Institute (API) will publish its weekly U.S. fuel stocks report. Markets will use the report to gauge the next move on prices, amid increasing global growth fears and rising U.S. crude supplies that continue to pose a risk to the upside.

International Brent crude oil futures rose $0.38, or 0.5%, at $67.92 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures jumped $0.24, or roughly 0.4%, to $59.62 per barrel.