Stocks: 6 things to know before the open

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Click chart for in-depth premarket data.

Perhaps we should dub today ‘overwhelming Wednesday.’

There is a ton of market-moving news around.

But here are the key things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York:

1. Fed focus: Investors are watching the U.S. Federal Reserve as the central bank issues its decision on interest rates at 2 p.m. ET. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will explain the decision at a press conference at 2:30 p.m.

The Fed raised rates in December for the first time in nearly a decade, even as other major central banks were pushing their rates deeper into negative territory.

Most market watchers are not expecting a Fed rate hike this time around. But smart investors will be listening to how optimistic Yellen sounds about current inflation trends for indications about future policy plans. The Fed is hoping to see inflation hit 2%; it’s currently sitting around 1.3%.

Related: 5 takeaways before the Fed’s big day

2. Oil producers agree to meet: The world’s top oil producers are finally meeting to talk about their problems. A meeting between members of OPEC and other major oil producers will take place on April 17 in Doha.

Crude oil prices have crashed over the last two years, but recently staged a rally based on expectations that major producers will freeze production in an effort to drain excess supply from the market.

Crude oil futures are rising by about 2% to trade at $ 37 per barrel on Wednesday.

3. Global market overview: U.S. stock futures are holding steady ahead of the open. European markets are edging up in early trading. Asian markets closed the day with mixed results.

The price for precious metals and gold are rising, while industrial metal prices are falling.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

4. Stock exchanges unite!: Europe is about to get a new financial markets giant with the scale to compete with U.S. rivals.

The London Stock Exchange (LDNXF) has agreed to join forces with Deutsche Boerse, which operates the main German stock market in Frankfurt.

Billed as a “merger of equals,” the all-share transaction is effectively a takeover: Deutsche Boerse (DBOEF) shareholders will end up owning more than 54% of the new combined group, and the company’s CEO — Carsten Kengeter — will be chief executive.

5. Potential market movers — Chipotle, Sharp: Shares in Chipotle (CMG) could tumble when trading opens after the company warned it’s likely to lose $ 1 per share “or worse” in the first three months of 2016. The restaurant chain is fighting to win back customers after its recent E.coli outbreak. It would be Chipotle’s first loss since its IPO in 2006.

Shares in struggling Japanese electronics firm Sharp (SHCAY) dropped by nearly 12% in Asia in reaction to reports that Foxconn is dragging its heels on a takeover deal.

Sharp agreed to be acquired last month, but then Foxconn immediately said it was postponing signing a definitive agreement while it reviewed “new material information.”

6. Earnings and economics: FedEx (FDX) and Williams-Sonoma (WSM) are the key companies reporting earnings Wednesday. Results will come after the closing bell.

The U.K. government is announcing its budget plans Wednesday, which could influence trading in the British currency. The pound is weakening in early trading against nearly all major currencies. It has been weighed down in recent weeks by uncertainty about the country’s prospects should Britons vote to quit the European Union in June.

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