Wall Street futures cautious ahead of FOMC interest rate decision

Federal Reserve

All eyes on Fed rate decision

U.S. stock futures were mixed on Wednesday morning as market players awaited the Federal Reserve to announce its monetary policy decision.

The Fed will conclude its two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) today and announce its policy decision at 2:00 p.m. ET. Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Markets widely expect the central bank to keep interest rates unchanged at a target range of 1.5%-1.75%.

As of writing, the blue-chip Dow futures were down 22.5 points, or 0.08% to 27,898.5 while S&P 500 futures dropped 1.38 points, or 0.04% to 3,134.62. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.87 points, or 0.01% to 8,364.62.

White House reportedly considering delaying new tariffs on Chinese imports

The Trump administration and Chinese trade officials are laying the groundwork for a delay of the new tariffs set for Sunday (Dec 15), according to a report on the Wall Street Journal.

People familiar with the matter told the Journal that move is aimed at giving the two sides ample time to negotiate a phase-one trade deal.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump is encouraged by progress with China. He, however, warned that the tariff increases on $160 billion of Chinese goods remain in play for now.

“The reality is those tariffs are still on the table,” Kudlow said at a Wall Street Journal conference. “And the president has indicated if the short strokes remaining in negotiations do not pan out to his liking that those tariffs could go back into place.”

Saudi Aramco surges 10% in its IPO debut

Shares of Saudi Aramco shares rallied 10% within minutes after the state-owned oil company made its public debut in Riyadh on Wednesday.

The stock rose to 35.2 Saudi riyals ($9.38) from 32 riyals in early trading on Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul stock exchange, up 10% and hitting its daily limit. Aramco’s surge lifted its valuation to $1.88 trillion.

The company raised $25.6 billion in the largest-ever IPO, surpassing the $25 billion that Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) raised in its market debut in 2014.