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S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures up on hopes of Fed pause.

Investors Expect Fed to Hold Interest Rates Steady

(Reuters) – S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures edged up on Wednesday as investors overwhelmingly expect the Federal Reserve to not raise interest rates as it concludes its meet later in the day.

The Fed is expected to leave interest rates unchanged at the 5%-5.25% range, for the first time since it kicked off a historically aggressive round of monetary policy tightening in March of 2022. The decision is due at 2:00 p.m ET.

Investors will also watch out for Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s news conference after the meeting to assess the central bank’s monetary policy path.

What to Expect

Traders see a 95% chance the U.S. central bank will hold rates at current levels and 63% odds of a 25-basis-point hike in July, according to the CME Fedwatch tool.

Ahead of the announcement, investors will focus on producer prices reading for May, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, which is expected to show prices fell 0.1% last month, aiding sentiment that inflationary pressures were subsiding.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq reached their highest closing levels in 14 months on Tuesday after data showed consumer prices rose modestly in May.

Stocks to Watch

  • Advanced Micro Devices: rose 1.7% premarket after Reuters reported that Amazon Web Services was considering using the company’s artificial intelligence chips. Amazon.com’s shares edged up 0.2%.
  • Activision Blizzard: slipped 0.9% after a U.S. judge granted the Federal Trade Commission’s request to temporarily block Microsoft’s acquisition of the video-game maker.
  • Tesla Inc: added 1.8% as the electric-vehicle maker slightly increased the price of its Model Y car in the United States.
  • United Health Group: fell 4.3% after the company signaled at an investor conference that medical costs at its health insurance unit could be high.

Overall, the market is cautiously optimistic as investors await the Fed’s decision.

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