5 Things You Should Know Before the Stock Market Opens
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were flat Wednesday as investors await word on whether the Federal Reserve will deliver the goods and provide additional stimulus for the U.S. economy.
European stocks were rising while Asian shares finished with gains.
Most market-watchers expect the central bank to push back the expiration date for Operation Twist, the Fed's current bond maturity extension program.
"We see a very high probability of some sort of balance sheet action - QE, Twist, etc. - from the Fed this week," said Morgan Stanley on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, U.S. stocks finished sharply higher as investors were betting that additional fiscal stimulus was forthcoming from the Federal Reserve.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 95 points, or 0.75%, to close at 12,837.
In addition to the Fed rate announcement at 12:30 p.m. EDT, which will be followed by a press conference from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the economic calendar Wednesday includes the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly application index at 7 a.m., and weekly crude inventories data at 10:30 a.m.
Procter & Gamble (PG) , the consumer-products giant, reduced its fourth-quarter profit and revenue forecasts because of slower-than-anticipated sales growth in developed markets.
P&G said Wednesday it expects to post core earnings for the quarter ending in June of 75 cents to 79 cents a share; its previous estimate was 79 cents to 85 cents a share.
Analysts forecast core earnings of 82 cents a share in P&G's fiscal fourth quarter.
P&G said organic sales are expected to rise 2% to 3% in the quarter; its previous estimate was 4% to 5%.