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17 Mar 2021 | 12:11

US pre-open: Futures mixed ahead of Fed interest rate decision

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street futures were mixed ahead of the bell on Wednesday as investors were holding out for the outcome of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting later in the day. As of 1245 GMT, Dow Jones futures were up 0.08%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures had the indices opening 0.33% and 1.13% weaker, respectively.

The Dow closed 127.51 points lower on Tuesday, with both it and S&P 500 retreating from fresh record highs reached in the previous session.

Wednesday's primary focus will be the central bank's new economic and interest rate forecasts, which will potentially indicate if Fed heads intend to raise rates before 2023.

Market participants will also hold out for comments from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, who will likely move both stock and bond markets with whatever he says, despite the fact that it is highly unlikely he will offer up any specifics.

Also in focus, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to a 13-month high ahead of the bell on Wednesday, climbing five basis points to land above 1.67%, its highest level since February 2020, while the 30-year rate jumped to 2.428%, its highest level since November 2019.

On the macro front, the total number of mortgage applications in the US fell 2.2% in the week ended 12 March, following a 1.3% drop in the prior week for the fifth decline in six weeks, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Applications to refinance a home loan slipped 4.2% on a weekly basis and were 39% lower than a year ago, while applications to purchase a home rose 1.8% week-on-week and were up 5% year-on-year.

Elsewhere, housing starts in the US fell 10.3% on a monthly basis in February, following January's 5.1% decline, according to the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, while building permits dropped 10.8% in the same period, erasing/ all of January's increase.

In the corporate space, company's whose fate is strongly tied to an economic reopening, like Royal Caribbean and Carnival cruise lines, were in the green ahead of the bell as the US' vaccine rollout and the easing of state lockdown measures also boosted stocks.
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