U.S. Stock Futures Signal Quiet Start As Traders Await Fed's Next Big Move

Fed Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET

Katie Coburn
Sep 20, 2017 at 9:13 AM
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After posting its sixth straight record close and eighth consecutive win on Tuesday, Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures are just barely above fair value this morning as traders await the outcome of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) two-day policy meeting. While the central bank isn't expected to lift interest rates until December, investors will be looking for details on how it plans to unwind its $4.5 trillion balance sheet. The announcement, which will take place at 2 p.m. ET, will be followed by a press conference with Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Meanwhile, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm earlier this morning.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • 20 stocks to buy right now, according to Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White.
  • How options players are reacting to the latest Amazon partnership.
  • The analyst eyeing record highs for Apple stock
  • Plus, Bed Bath & Beyond slashed its fiscal-year forecast; Alnylam Pharmaceuticals soars on upbeat drug study results; and General Mills sinks on low cereal sales.

US Stock Futures Sept 20

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 742,735 call contracts traded on Tuesday, compared to 498,026 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio rose to 0.67, and the 21-day moving average remained at 0.61.
  2. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ:BBBY) stock is down 15.7% in pre-market trading, headed for territory not charted since early 2009, after the home goods retailer reported lower-than-expected second-quarter earnings and lackluster sales. The company also slashed its full-year outlook, sparking another round of post-earnings price-target cuts from no fewer than five brokerage firms. The lowest targets came from Telsey Advisory and Keybanc, who both issued cuts to $21.
  3. Shares of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALNY) are up 29% before the bell, following reports that the company's genetic disease drug succeeded in a late-stage study. The biotech company -- which has struggled with patient safety concerns in the past -- plans to file a marketing application for the drug with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the end of the year. ALNY touched an annual high of $89.45 on Sept. 1, but is currently on track to open near $97.
  4. Worse-than-expected fiscal first-quarter earnings and lackluster sales has General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) stock down 6% in electronic trading. The food processing company attributed its earnings miss to lower yogurt and cereal sales in North America. GIS shares sank to a two-year low of $52.77 on Aug. 31, and are currently pacing for an open around $52.05.   
  5. The NAHB housing market index and Treasury international capital (TIC) flows are due out today. Steelcase (SCS) will report earnings after the close.

buzz stocks sept 20

Overseas Trading

It was a mostly higher finish in Asia today, as stocks took a bullish cue from Wall Street. Ahead of tomorrow's policy decision from the Bank of Japan, the Nikkei tacked on a modest 0.05%, after a report showed exports rose at a stronger-than-expected pace last month. China's Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong's Hang Seng also settled in positive territory, adding 0.3% apiece. Elsewhere, a retreat in tech stocks and retail shares weighed on South Korea's Kospi, which closed down 0.2%.

European stocks are sticking close to the flatline ahead of this afternoon's policy decision from the U.S. Fed. Traders are also weighing a big earnings-related pop for Kingfisher. The home improvement retailer posted a solid first-quarter profit, but said it was cautious in the second half of 2017 due to the economic backdrop in the U.K. and competition in France. At last check, the French CAC 40 was outpacing its peers, up 0.1%. The German DAX, meanwhile, is down 0.1%, while London's FTSE 100 is off 0.02% as a bigger-than-forecast rise in retail sales boosts the pound.


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