U.S. stock futures hint at cautious optimism ahead of Federal Reserve's decision

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U.S. stock futures hint at cautious optimism ahead of Federal Reserve's decision
Credit: © Reuters.

U.S. stock futures indicated a slight uptick on Tuesday, as traders cautiously anticipated the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision and accompanying statements expected to be released midweek. The S&P 500 futures rose by 4 points or 0.1% to 4505, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures increased by 33 points or 0.1% to 34968, while Nasdaq 100 futures climbed by 14 points or 0.1% to 15428.

This cautious optimism follows a modest gain on Monday when the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 6 points or 0.02% to close at 34624, and the S&P 500 edged up by 3 points or 0.07% to finish at 4454. The Nasdaq Composite also saw an increase, adding 2 points or 0.01% to end at 13710.

Investors have been holding back from making major moves as they await the Federal Reserve's policy decision. The market widely anticipates that the central bank will maintain interest rates between 5.25% and 5.50% following its Wednesday meeting. However, there is some apprehension about the Fed's guidance on possible future rate hikes due to persistent inflationary pressures.

This concern is reflected in the near-record levels of the benchmark ten-year Treasury yields. Recent economic data that surpassed expectations, along with oil prices reaching a ten-month high, could potentially lead the Fed to adopt a "hawkish pause" stance. This suggests that due to robust consumer spending and solid growth, the central bank might significantly upgrade its growth forecasts and signal caution with a somewhat hawkish tone.

Investors are also keeping an eye on U.S. economic updates set to be released on Tuesday, including housing starts and building permits for August. Rising oil prices are adding to the complexity of policy decisions for major central banks globally, including the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the Bank of England. Notably, the ECB hiked rates by 25 basis points last week, and the Bank of England is expected to follow suit this Thursday.

In the corporate sector, investors are awaiting Instacart's initial public offering (IPO) pricing, following Arm Holdings (NASDAQ: ARM )' successful IPO. However, Mark Newton from Fundstrat has cautioned that poor seasonal trends and potential volatility in bond yields could leave stocks vulnerable in the short term. He noted that despite key meetings at the Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan this week, there hasn't been enough strength in equities or Treasuries to suggest a significant recovery to 4600 on the S&P 500 is imminent.

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