The S&P 500 futures are trading three points (0.1%) below fair value this morning as investors look ahead to the 2:00 PM ET release of the minutes from the January FOMC meeting. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq 100 futures are trading 15 points (0.2%) above fair value, and the Dow futures are down 36 points (0.1%).
The three major averages declined between 0.1% and 1.0% on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 and the Dow breaking their six-session winning streaks.
Ahead of the release of the minutes for the January FOMC meeting, the market is placing the chances of a March rate hike at 84.6% and is calling for a total of three rate hikes in 2018, according to the CME FedWatch Tool. The yield on the 2-yr Treasury note, which is more susceptible to Fed policy, is trading five basis points above yesterday's close at 2.27%--its highest level in nearly 10 years. Meanwhile, the benchmark 10-yr yield is flat at 2.89%.
In addition to the minutes, investors will receive Existing Home Sales for January (Briefing.com consensus 5.62 million), which will cross the wires at 10:00 AM ET. The weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index was released earlier this morning, showing a decrease of 6.6% to follow last week's 4.1% decline.
Overseas, equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region ended Wednesday on a higher note, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+1.8%) setting the pace, while the major European bourses are trading on a modestly lower note. The U.S. dollar is up 0.2% against the euro (1.2312) and 0.2% against the Japanese yen (107.53).
In U.S. corporate news:
- Southern (SO 44.70, +1.23): +2.8% after reporting above-consensus earnings and revenues.
- Advance Auto (AAP 108.00, +2.65): +2.5% after reporting better-than-expected earnings and revenues.
Reviewing overnight developments:
- Equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region ended the midweek session on a mostly higher note while China's Shanghai Composite remained closed for Lunar New Year. Japan's Nikkei +0.2%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng +1.8%, India's Sensex +0.4%.
- In economic data:
- Japan's February Manufacturing PMI 54.0 (expected 55.2; last 54.8). All Industries Activity Index 0.5% month-over-month, as expected (last 0.5%)
- Australia's Q4 Construction Work Done -19.4% quarter-over-quarter (expected -10.1%; last 16.6%). Q4 Wage Price Index +0.6% quarter-over-quarter (expected 0.5%; last 0.5%); +2.1% year-over-year (consensus 2.2%; last 2.0%)
- South Korea's January PPI +0.4% month-over-month (last 0.1%); +1.2% year-over-year (last 2.2%)
- In news:
- Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is reportedly seeking new stimulus options to implement after a sales tax hike in October and the Olympics in 2020. Various studies have shown that Olympic Games tend to have a negligible (and often negative) impact on the host country's economy.
- General Motors is willing to make a $2.80 billion investment in its South Korean unit over the next ten years.
- Major European indices trade mostly lower with Spain's IBEX (-0.9%) pacing the retreat. UK's FTSE +0.1%, France's CAC -0.2%, Germany's DAX -0.6%.
- In economic data:
- Eurozone February Manufacturing PMI 58.5 (expected 59.2; last 59.6) and February Services PMI 56.7 (expected 57.7; last 58.0)
- Germany's February Manufacturing PMI 60.3 (expected 60.6; last 61.1) and February Services PMI 55.3 (expected 56.9; last 57.3)
- UK's December Average Earnings Index + Bonus +2.5%, as expected (last 2.5%); January Claimant Count Change -7,200 (expected 2,300; last 6,200). January Unemployment Rate 4.4% (expected 4.3%; last 4.3%) and January Public Sector Net Borrowing -GBP11.62 billion (expected -GBP11.50 billion; last GBP280 million)
- France's February Manufacturing PMI 56.1 (expected 58.1; last 58.4) and February Services PMI 57.9 (expected 59.1; last 59.2)
- In news:
- Italy's Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan warned it is not a given that Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann will be named the next ECB President.
- British and EU negotiators are reportedly in broad agreement regarding the post-Brexit transition period, but the two sides have yet to set an end date for the transition.