Stocks poised to open in the green as traders eye Federal Reserve policy decision

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Futures point to more gains

U.S. stocks are set to climb higher on Wednesday as traders await the outcome of the Federal Reserve policy meeting later in the day.

The Fed is expected to announce its policy decision at 2:00 p.m. ET. That will be followed by a press briefing by Fed boss Jerome Powell, who could provide an update on the central bank’s view on the economy and the extraordinary measures it has implemented so far.

Economists largely expect the central bank to leave interest rates unchanged in a target range of 0% to 0.25% for some time to help the economy recover from the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

By 5:30 a.m. ET, futures tied to the Dow indicated a gain of 120 points, or 0.43% to 28,028. The S&P 500 futures were up 17.38 points, or 0.51% to 3,412.38 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 68.75 points, or 0.6% to 11,519.

Snowflake prices IPO above range at $120 a share, values company at $33 billion

Snowflake priced its initial public offering late Tuesday at $120 per share, giving the company a valuation of $33 billion.

At $120, the cloud software company priced shares above its previous target of $100 to $110 a share, which suggests that underwriters felt demand for Snowflake’s stock was strong. The original marketed range was $75 to $85 per share.

According to Refinitiv data reported by the Financial Times, Snowflake’s IPO is the largest such in the U.S. since Uber (NYSE: UBER)’s $8.1 billion offering in May 2019.

Snowflake will trade under the ticker symbol SNOW, beginning Thursday on the NYSE.

FTC said to be preparing potential antitrust lawsuit against Facebook

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is preparing for a potential antitrust suit against Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) before the year ends, according to a Tuesday report on The Wall Street Journal.

People familiar with the matter told the Journal that FTC officials haven’t decided yet whether to sue Facebook, but they are building their case as part of their year-long probe into the social media giant.

The agency has been investigating potentially anti-competitive behavior by the company, which has reportedly included interviewing CEO Mark Zuckerberg and looking into past acquisitions such as WhatsApp and Instagram.

Last year, Facebook announced that the FTC had launched an antitrust probe into the company, but the company did not go into detail.

Facebook stock was down 1.94% to $267.13 a share in the pre-market trading session Wednesday.

House report blames Boeing, FAA for 737 Max crashes

In other news, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said in a report early Wednesday that Boeing (NYSE: BA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were to blame for the two fatal 737 Max plane crashes that claimed 346 lives.

“Boeing failed in its design and development of the MAX, and the FAA failed in its oversight of Boeing and its certification of the aircraft,” the nearly 250-page report said.

The report said, released after an 18-month investigation, said the Ethiopia Airline and Lion Air crashes “were the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing’s engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing’s management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA — the pernicious result of regulatory capture on the part of the FAA.”

The 737 Max jets have been grounded worldwide since March 2019. As of writing, Boeing shares were down 1.28% to $161.39 apiece in pre-market trade.

 

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