Dow Futures Rise as Fed Decision Looms—and What Else Is Happening in the Stock Market Today

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The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision is likely to be the highlight of Wednesday.

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Stocks rose Wednesday as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s latest decision on interest rates, with the central bank expected to raise rates by 75 basis points as it continues to try to rein in red-hot inflation.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 180 points, or 0.6%, after the index tumbled 228 points Tuesday to close at 31,761. S&P 500 futures signaled a start 1% into the green with the tech-stock-heavy Nasdaq poised to rise 1.7%.

Overseas, the pan-European Stoxx 600 advanced 0.3% and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.2%.

It has shaped up to be a turbulent week for stocks amid a wave of central bank news, economic data, and high-profile corporate earnings. In the spotlight Wednesday is the end of the Fed’s two-day monetary policy committee meeting, with a decision on interest rates due alongside what will be a closely watched press conference from Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

“It’s certain that the Federal Reserve will be hiking rates again today by another 75 basis points, with the only question being what comes next, and whether we see 50 basis points or another 75 basis points in September,” said Michael Hewson, an analyst at broker CMC Markets.

Facing inflation at a multidecade high, the Fed has already moved at a historic and aggressive pace to tighten monetary policy, and is expected to keep going. In June, the central bank raised rates by 75 basis points, or three-quarters of a percentage point, for the first time since 1994; a standard rate hike is 25 basis points.

At the heart of investor concerns over tighter monetary policy is the possibility of an economic slowdown. While ramping up borrowing costs is expected to dent economic demand and cool inflation, this pathway runs the risk of causing a recession. Any indications from the Fed or Powell on economic outlook will be closely watched.

“While the Fed will probably offer guidance about how they are currently thinking about policy actions at the September meeting, the amount of data between now and then means investors shouldn’t assign too strong a prior to any forward guidance,” said Tim Wessel, an analyst at Deutsche Bank.

Corporate earnings remain in focus. Big Tech is dominating this week, with reports from Alphabet (ticker: GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT) yesterday paving the way for Meta Platforms (META) in the day ahead before Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) Thursday.

Here are two stocks on the move Wednesday:

Google parent Alphabet was 4% higher in U.S. premarket trading. The tech giant reported second-quarter results below analysts’ expectations but notched a revenue figure that was better than feared. Alphabet saw earnings per share of $1.21 on revenue of $69.7 billion in the last quarter, which was below Wall Street’s expectations of EPS at $1.27 on sales of $69.9 billion.

Microsoft (MSFT) rose 4% in the premarket as it, like Alphabet, gained despite an earnings miss after results showed continued demand for the company’s cloud-computing business. Microsoft reported EPS of $2.23 on revenue of $51.9 billion, slightly short of Wall Street’s expectations on both metrics, as well as below the company’s own guidance range for the quarter.

Write to Jack Denton at jack.denton@dowjones.com