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Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks open mostly higher as market awaits possibly the biggest Fed rate hike since 2000

U.S. stock futures edgedhigher on Wednesday, ahead of the outcome of a two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting that is expected to deliver the first 50 basis-point interest rate hike since 2000.

Futures were moving higher alongside oil prices, up on news that the EU has proposed a ban on Russian oil.

How are stock-index futures trading?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures

rose 121 points, or 0.3%, to 33,151

S&P 500 futures

rose 0.4% to 4,185

Nasdaq-100 futures

rose 0.2% to 13,120

On Tuesday, the Dow industrials

rose 67.29 points, or 0.2%, to close at 33,128.79, the S&P 500 

gained 0.5% to finish at 4,175.48. The Nasdaq Composite 

added 0.2% to end at 12,563.76.

Read: ‘Bubble stocks popped’ but it’s still not safe to buy them, says Ray Dalio, founder of world’s biggest hedge fund

What’s driving markets?

Alongside a half-point interest rate hike, the Fed is expected to announce the start of “quantitative tightening,” when the central bank’s decision is announced at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Investors will also focus on a news conference with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

Read: Fed on track for biggest rate hike since 2000

Clarity from the Fed on size and scope of future rate increases could give beleagured stocks a lift, say some analysts.

“With financial conditions tightening ahead of the Fed’s interest rate decision, the Fed could be more dovish. Since the Fed’s last meeting, the 10-year yield topped 3% for the first time since 2018 (today), the U.S. dollar rallied 5%, the S&P 500 has fallen 8.74%, and hedge fund exposures fell to a 1.5-year low,” said the Saxo Bank strategy team, in a note to clients.

A slightly more dovish Fed could lead to a short-term rally for hard-hit tech and cyclical stocks, they said. “Keep in mind though, the longer-term picture is still very bearish, medium and longer-term, as the Fed is taking out $1 trillion a year out of the system and the economy is expected to slow,” said Saxo strategists.

Ahead of Friday’s nonfarm payroll data, investors will get the ADP private-sector employment report at 8:15 a.m. Eastern Time, a March update on the trade balance, due at 8:30 a.m., followed by the Institute for Supply Management’s April services index at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Oil was also in focus, with prices for both Brent


and West Texas Intermediate crude



up over 3% each after the European Union proposed banning Russian oil imports under a phased six-month plan, and refined products within a year.

The move would be part of a sixth batch of EU sanctions against Russia over its invasion in Ukraine that began in late February.

Investors will get a fresh batch of earnings on Wednesday, with Moderna Inc.
CVS Health Corp.

and Yum Brands Inc.

among those reporting ahead of the open. After the close, results are expected from eBay Inc.

and Etsy Inc.
among others.

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