US index futures are higher in pre-market trading on Wednesday, the most anticipated day of the week, when the Federal Reserve will release its monetary policy decision.

At 7:19 AM, Dow Jones futures (DOWI:DJI) rose by 79 points, or 0.23%. S&P 500 futures also increased by 0.23%, and Nasdaq-100 futures were up by 0.21%. The yield on 10-year Treasury bonds stood at 4.347%.

In the commodities market, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for October fell 0.66% to $90.60 per barrel. Brent oil for November fell 0.63% to US$93.78 per barrel. Iron ore with a concentration of 62% rose 0.46%, quoted at US$119.53 per ton, after a sequence of declines, given doubts about demand in China.

At 07:00, the MBA mortgage index was released, indicating that mortgage rates have risen in the last week. Refinancing applications increased 13%, although 29% below the previous year. The average interest rate for 30-year fixed mortgages with balances up to $726,200 rose from 7.27% to 7.31%. Points remained at 0.72, including the origination fee, for loans with a 20% down payment. The demand for refinancing may be linked to concerns about future increases. Requests for purchasing a home grew 2%. The average loan amount on a purchase order was $416,800, the highest level in six weeks.

In the remainder of Wednesday’s U.S. economic agenda, investors await the 10:30 AM release of the weekly oil inventory by the Department of Energy, with a consensus expectation of a decline of 2.67 million.

Jerome Powell, president of the Fed, will comment on the decision at 2:30 PM. Bank of America anticipates a balanced message, similar to the statements in Jackson Hole, reflecting that the outlook has remained consistent since August.

The global forecast is that the Federal Reserve will maintain the interest rate between 5.25% and 5.50% at today’s meeting. Although inflation is above the 2% target, the recent weakening of the labor market may reduce inflationary concerns in the medium term. In the last 12 meetings, Fed has raised rates 11 times. With this pause expected by the market, the Fed can observe the impact of its previous decisions. Future interest rate increases will be clarified in the statement.

Recently, ABN-Amro and Santander projected that Fed will maintain the rate until March 2024. They predict that, with a slowdown in employment and a drop in inflation, there could be a reduction in interest rates in early 2024.

In Europe, investors analyze data on British inflation and producer prices in Germany, which were below expectations, on the eve of the Bank of England (BoE) interest rate decision.

In Asia, markets behaved differently, awaiting the Fed’s resolution and reflecting the choice of the PBoC, China’s central bank, to maintain the five-year prime rate at 4.20% per year and the annual rate at 3.45%. The stability of interest rates in China can have a double interpretation: supporting a fragile economy and supporting the yuan, which has been losing value in relation to the dollar.

In Japan, on the eve of the inflation announcement, a trade deficit of 6.3 billion dollars was recorded in the previous month. Exports fell 0.80% in August, and imports declined 17.80%, both numbers lower than expected. The Japanese trade challenge highlights the crisis in global demand, most felt in advanced countries, the main consumers of high-quality products.

By Tuesday’s close, U.S. stocks were down, with nearly every major segment of the S&P 500 declining. Dow Jones fell 106.57 points or 0.31% to 34,517.73 points. S&P 500 fell 9.58 points or 0.22% to 4,443.95. Nasdaq fell 32.05 points or 0.23% to 13,678.19. Meanwhile, the price of oil continued to climb due to production cuts by Russia and OPEC+, with Brent approaching US$95 per barrel. This influenced a rise in inflation forecasts, sending Treasury yields to their highest point in several months. In Europe, the CPI index, which measures consumer inflation, presented a value slightly below expectations after the correction of the August data.

On Wednesday’s corporate earnings front, investors will be watching reports from General Mills (NYSE:GIS), FedEx (NYSE:FDX) and KB Home (NYSE:KBH).

Wall Street Corporate Highlights for Today

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) – Apple Store employee unions in France called a strike during the launch of the iPhone 15, demanding a 7% salary increase to compensate for inflation. Apple France proposed a 4.5% increase. Protests are expected in Paris.

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) – Amazon plans to hire 250,000 seasonal workers in the U.S. for Christmas, a 67% increase from previous years, due to the expansion of next-day delivery. Other U.S. retailers expect to hire less compared to previous years, anticipating lower consumer demand in 2023. Additionally, Amazon’s hardware division, Lab126, faces low morale following layoffs and financial crisis. Former employees describe uncertain projects and concerns about the future of devices with Alexa built-in. The company plans to launch new devices and aims for greater adoption of Alexa, while facing competition in AI.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) – British minister Kemi Badenoch disagreed with Microsoft president Brad Smith over the Competition and Markets Authority’s blocking of the purchase of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI). In response, Activision will attempt to sell its streaming rights to gain approval.

Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) – Britain asked Meta to only implement end-to-end encryption on Instagram and Messenger with safeguards to protect children from abuse. While Meta highlights the benefits of encryption, the UK emphasizes child safety. In other news, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, will develop an AI system for life sciences research. This system will use open AI models to advance cell and disease studies. Meta is also introducing a payment feature on WhatsApp in India, allowing direct purchases via chat. After launches in Brazil and Singapore, this expansion targets the Indian market with 400 million WhatsApp users. Meta seeks to monetize the popular app by charging companies for features and ads.

Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) – On Tuesday, Pinterest shares rose 3% after executives predicted accelerated revenue growth. To drive growth, new ad tools were launched, integrating with Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) and Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE). Scott Schenkel, formerly of eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), was named to the company’s board. Pinterest shares are up 0.3% in Wednesday premarket trading.

Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) – Google has appealed to the Court of Justice of the European Union seeking to overturn a $2.6 billion EU antitrust fine. The company argues that its practices were not anti-competitive and that different treatment is not abusive. The decision is pending. Furthermore, after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) replaced Google Maps with its own app, Google recovered 40% of its previous mobile traffic, according to executive Michael Roszak in an antitrust trial. The case argues that Google illegally maintained a monopoly on online search by favoring its search engine across devices and browsers, including paying Apple to be the default on Safari.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) – Intel’s new “Meteor Lake” chip will allow to run AI chatbots on laptops without relying on data centers. Shown at a conference, it will enable the use of technologies such as ChatGPT while keeping confidential data on the device. The vision is to promote accessible and private AI.

Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) – Oracle announced on Tuesday that it will integrate chips from Ampere Computing into its cloud service. Ampere, created by former Intel leaders (NASDAQ:INTC), focuses on efficient chips and is backed by Oracle. Recently, Google Cloud also adopted Ampere chips. Additionally, Oracle is prepared to support Canadian banks in open banking, according to Sonny Singh, VP of Oracle Financial Services. Not yet implemented in Canada, open banking facilitates secure transfers of financial data. Oracle already serves Canadian banks with cloud solutions.

Arm Holdings (NASDAQ:ARM) – Shares of Arm Holdings fell 4.9% on Tuesday, marking its third drop in the first four sessions following its IPO. The stock closed at $55.17, down from a high of $69. The stocks are down -1.6% in Wednesday’s pre-market trading.

Instacart (NASDAQ:CART) – In its Nasdaq debut, Instacart shares rose 12% after being priced at the top of the $28 to $30 range, raising $660 million. Apoorva Mehta, co-founder of Instacart, accumulates $1.1 billion after the company’s IPO. Mehta, after 11 years, handed over the role of CEO of Instacart to Fidji Simo. The company, which had a peak valuation of US$39 billion, debuted on the stock market valued at US$9.9 billion. Mehta now leads Cloud Health Systems, which focuses on chronic disease care. CART shares are down 4.0% in Wednesday pre-market trading.

Klaviyo – Klaviyo, a digital marketing platform, priced its IPO at $30 per share, exceeding expectations. Founded in 2012 and based in Boston, Klaviyo helps online businesses optimize customer engagement. The company has more than 130,000 customers, partnerships with e-commerce companies such as Shopify (NYSE:SHOP), and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange as “KVYO”. Its IPO follows solid financial performance, including a path to profitability. Klaviyo faces competition from big players, but its close relationship with Shopify stands out as a relevant factor in its success.

Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) – Walt Disney announced it will double spending on its parks business to $60 billion over the next 10 years. Revealed at a meeting in Orlando, the parks have been a stable source of profit, offsetting losses from Disney+ streaming.

Warner Bros. Discovery (NASDAQ:WBD) – Warner Bros. Discovery will launch “Bleacher Report Sports Add-On” on its Max streaming service for an additional $9.99 monthly starting October 5th. The service includes US baseball, hockey, basketball and football. Free until February 29th, the service aims to strengthen Max platform and compete in the streaming market.

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) – Long waits drive customers away from Starbucks, with more than a third waiting more than five minutes. The vast variety of drink combinations overwhelms workers. The company, led by Howard Schultz and now Laxman Narasimhan, seeks innovations to improve efficiency and speed. They emphasize keeping the experience cozy, although modernization and a focus on quick sales challenge that view.

Target (NYSE:TGT) – Target plans to hire 100,000 employees for the holiday season and will offer discounts starting in October. Forecasts point to lower sales growth due to high prices.

Dollar General (NYSE:DG) – JPMorgan downgraded Dollar General from “Neutral” to “Underweight,” lowering its price target from $132 to $116. This decision came following statements from CFO Kelly Dilts in a event in London promoted by the bank. Now, JPMorgan anticipates steady growth in the store’s sales, given that Dollar General’s core clientele, mostly low-income, faces recession-like economic conditions. Dollar GEneral shares are down -2.3% in Wednesday pre-market trading.

nCino (NASDAQ:NCNO) – nCino shares are down -4.8% in Wednesday’s pre-market trading at $31.50 after Morgan Stanley cut the technology company’s rating from “Equal Weight” to “Underweight”. The target price remained at US$24.

Steelcase (NYSE:SCS) – Steelcase Inc. saw its shares rise 3.1% in premarket trading Wednesday after forecasting “significantly improved” profit for the third quarter as more workers return to the office. In the second quarter, Steelcase reported a profit of $27.5 million (23 cents per share), compared to $19.6 million (17 cents per share) a year earlier. Revenues decreased to $854.6 million from $863.3 million in the same period last year. Factoring in adjustments, the company had a profit of 31 cents per share. FactSet analysts had forecast adjusted earnings of 20 cents per share and sales of $829 million.

FedEx (NYSE:FDX) – FedEx has seen its shares rise 75% since implementing a $6 billion cost reduction plan. While UPS (NYSE:UPS) faced labor challenges and agreed to a costly deal, FedEx is preparing to report positive results despite lower sales expectations.

Ford Motor (NYSE:F) – Ford reached an agreement with Unifor, avoiding a walkout in Canada, as the UAW union in the US prepared to expand its strikes. The union now negotiates with General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Stellantis (NYSE:STLA). In the USA, the strike affected the production of popular models. Ford is preparing contingency plans for possible strikes in the US and continues negotiations with the UAW, which is demanding higher wages and benefits. Shares of Ford and General Motors returned to the levels they had before the strike. However, with the United Auto Workers deadline coming up on Friday, these stocks could come under pressure again soon.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) – Federal investigators are expanding their probe into benefits provided by Tesla to CEO Elon Musk since 2017. Elsewhere, Tesla’s global expansion has led countries to court Elon Musk for investment. The Turkish president has requested a factory, while Saudi Arabia is negotiating with Tesla. Musk envisions a new location by the end of 2023. India and Mexico are also considered. Additionally, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has partnered with Tesla for electric vehicle financing. Customers can apply for loans through the Tesla website at 5.49% per year. CBA seeks to drive sustainable purchasing with affordable financing.

Nio (NYSE:NIO) – Nio Inc raised $1 billion through convertible bonds to pay down debt and strengthen its balance sheet. With interest ranging between 3.875% and 4.625%, it plans to use part of the money to repurchase existing debt.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) – Boeing raised its forecast for plane deliveries to China to 8,560 by 2042, due to economic growth and demand for domestic travel. The company remains optimistic about the Chinese market despite challenges with the 737 MAX.

TotalEnergies (NYSE:TTE) – TotalEnergies SE and Adani Green Energy Ltd. have formed a $300 million joint venture to expand clean energy projects. The deal comes after allegations of fraud against the Adani Group. Total will own 50% of the company, strengthening its presence in the Indian renewable energy market.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) – Goldman Sachs is in talks to sell its GreenSky unit to investors including Sixth Street (NYSE:TSLX), Pacific Investment Management and KKR (NYSE:KKR) for about $500 million, a significant drop from the U.S. $1.7 billion paid 18 months ago. The move comes after less profitable efforts in consumer banking. Goldman shares are flat in premarket trading Wednesday.

HSBC (NYSE:HSBC) – HSBC has hired eight former Credit Suisse professionals to expand its global equities business in locations including London, New York and Hong Kong. The hires include Simon Farquharson and Tiffany Chiu, aiming to compete with Wall Street rivals.

Paypal (NASDAQ:PYPL), Block (NYSE:SQ) – PayPal and Square (Owned by Block) are undergoing changes, with new CEOs set to take over soon. Despite declining stock prices in recent years, these changes are expected to drive the companies forward. PayPal had plans to expand its services but shifted focus towards profitability. PayPal’s CEO, Dan Schulman, will be replaced by Alex Chris, while Jack Dorsey will take the helm at Square following Alyssa Henry’s departure. Reactions to the changes have been mixed, but analysts see long-term potential. Both companies have stocks trading below historical averages, indicating potential value or future risks.

Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) – Coinbase intensified campaign for regulatory clarity. The cryptocurrency exchange is releasing ads and encouraging users to pressure Congress to pass crypto legislation. On September 27, executives from 35 crypto companies will meet at the Capitol.

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