1. Fed meeting minutes on tap as odds for rate hike rise
On a sparse day for economic data, investors will focus Wednesday on the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) most recent policy meeting due at 18:00GMT, or 14:00ET, for further clarity on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike.Odds for a rate hike this year increased after hawkish comments from two Fed officials on Tuesday.
New York Fed chief William Dudley said that the U.S. is edging closer toward the point in time where it will be appropriate to raise interest rates further.In addition, Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart said that two rate hikes in 2016 were a possibility.
Fed fund futures currently price in a 52.5% chance of policy tightening in December.
2. Oil pulls back from 5-week high on speculation for bearish inventory data
Oil fell back from a five-week high on bets that government crude inventory data out on Wednesday will be bearish for black gold.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report on oil supplies at 14:30GMT, or 10:30AM ET, amid expectations for an increase of 522,000 barrels.After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories fell by 1.0 million barrels in the week ended August 12. It also showed an increase of 2.2 million barrels in gasoline stocks, a worrying demand signal well ahead of the end of the summer driving season.U.S. crude oil futures fell 0.64% to $46.28 at 9:50AM GMT, or 5:50AM ET, while Brent oil traded down 0.71% to $48.88.
3. Global stocks mixed as investors recheck Fed expectations
Asian stocks were mixed with Japan’s Nikkei 225 leading gains as hawkish Fed comments strengthened the dollar against the yen. Chinese stocks recovered from initial losses to close flat on the back of government approval of a plan to connect the giant stock markets of Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
European stocks were mostly lower on Wednesday, as investors eyed the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s most recent policy meeting for hints on the timing of the next rate hike.
Meanwhile, U.S. futures traded flat while looking the Fed minutes. At 9:52AM GMT, or 5:52AM ET, the blue-chip Dow futures slipped 5 points, or 0.02%, S&P 500 futures edged forward 1 point, or 0.03%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures inched up 3 points, or 0.07%.
4. Cisco reportedly plans to axe 20% of its workforce
Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) will lay off around 14,000 employees, equivalent to nearly 20% of its workforce, according to a report citing sources close to the company from tech news site CRN.The blue-chip network equipment maker was expected to announce the cuts in the next few weeks in the latest wave of layoffs among tech giants as firms face the industry decline. Additionally, Cisco will report fiscal fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday after the market close.
5. U.K. employment data shrugs off Brexit worries
Despite dire warnings were made by economists following the U.K.’s June 23 decision to leave the European Union, known as a Brexit, the July claimant count gave an upbeat reading of the British labor market. The first available data for the period following the vote showed an unexpected decline of 8,600 people, compared to the forecast for a 9,500 increase.The jobless rate for June also remained at an 11-year low of 4.9%, while U.K. employment in the second quarter hit a record high of 74.5%.
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