Wall Street futures muted; Fed decision and tech earnings in focus

Highrise buildings in Wall Street financial district, New York City

Eyes on the Federal Reserve

U.S. stock futures were trading cautiously early Wednesday as traders awaiting the outcome of the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day policy meeting later in the day.

While the Federal Reserve is widely expected to maintain target interest rates at near-zero, markets will be looking for hints on its plan to taper its massive bond-buying program.

The central bank will publish its policy statement at 2 p.m. ET, followed by Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET.

As of 5:25 a.m. ET, the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a gain of 42 points, or 0.28% to 14,989.75. S&P 500 futures rose 8.25 points, or 0.19% to 4,402.75 while the blue-chip Dow futures were little changed.

Apple Q3 results smash expectations

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) reported better-than-forecast third quarter financial results after the markets closed on Tuesday, helped by strong iPhone sales.

For the quarter, the iPhone maker earned $21.74 billion, or $1.30 per share, compared with $11.25 billion, or $0.65 per share in the third quarter of last year. Companywide revenue jumped 36% on a year-over-year basis to $81.43 billion.

Analysts expected the company to come out with earnings of $1 per share on revenue of $72.93 billion.

Revenue from its iPhone business was $39.57 billion, well ahead of the $36.5 billion that analysts had projected.

Google’s ad revenue soars 69%

Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL), the owner of Google, said Tuesday that earned $18.53 billion, or $27.26 per share during its fiscal second quarter, up from $6.96 billion, or $10.13 per share in the year-ago period.

Total revenue increased 62% on a year-over-year basis to $61.88 billion, with ad revenue jumping 69% to $50.44 billion. Alphabet attributed the revenue growth to retail, entertainment, and travel ads.

Analysts expected the company to post earnings of $19.21 a share on revenue of $56.02 billion.

Microsoft posts record quarterly revenue

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) shares traded higher in premarket trading hours Wednesday after the company posted upbeat fourth-quarter earnings that impressed Wall Street.

The tech behemoth said late Tuesday that it made a profit of $16.46 billion, or $2.17 per share, compared with $1.46 per share in the same period last year. Revenue grew 21% to a record $46.15 billion, from $38.03 billion in the prior-year quarter.

Both earnings and revenue surpassed analyst estimates of $1.90 per share and revenue of $44.10 billion.

At the time of writing Microsoft stock was up $3.66, or 1.28% to $290.20.