Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a muted open on Wednesday, as market players looked ahead to minutes of the Federal Reserve’s April policy meeting for fresh clues on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike.
Minutes of the Fed’s April policy meeting will be published at 18:00GMT, or 2:00PM ET, Wednesday. The U.S. central bank left interest rates unchanged following its meeting on April 27 and issued a statement implying it was in no hurry to raise rates, saying it wants to have more confidence in the economy's overall health before hiking rates again.
Meanwhile, oil prices stayed near the prior session’s seven-month highs as market players looked ahead to fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report on oil supplies at 14:30GMT, or 10:30AM ET, amid expectations for a drop of 2.9 million barrels.
Among active pre-market movers, Staples Inc (NASDAQ:SPLS) rose nearly 2% as the company reported better than expected first quarter earnings ahead of the opening bell.
Home improvement retailer Lowe’s Companies Inc (NYSE:LOW) jumped more than 2% after posting upbeat quarterly profit and same-store sales figures during early U.S. morning hours.
Other companies slated to release quarterly earnings ahead of Wednesday’s opening bell include Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) and Booz Allen Hamilton Holding (NYSE:BAH), while Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO), Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM), Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) and L Brands (NYSE:LB) will post numbers after Wall Street closes.
Elsewhere, European stock markets fell on Wednesday, amid concerns the Federal Reserve may hike interest rates sooner rather than later.
Earlier, Asian equities ended mostly lower, tracking overnight losses on U.S. stock markets that were caused by renewed expectations that the Fed could raise rates as early as next month.
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