Stock futures were little changed Tuesday night as investors brace themselves for the Federal Reserve’s latest policy decision at the conclusion of its meeting on Wednesday.
Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were lower by 10 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures hovered at the flat line.
In regular trading, the major stock averages ended the day lower after job openings in September showed a resilient labor market. The Dow fell about 79 points, or 0.2%. The S&P 500 lost 0.41%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.89%.
Investors are awaiting a key policy decision from the Fed, which is widely expected to announce it will raise interest rates by three-quarters of a point, its fourth hike in a row of that size, in its ongoing effort to fight high inflation. Market participants, however, are looking for a signal that the central bank is prepared to slow the pace of its rate-hiking plan come December.
“We’re looking for a little bit of guidance… 75 [basis points] is expected, that’s going to hit, but what’s the forward guidance is going to be? It’s all about what’s to come and what is the pace of the next hikes,” said Victoria Greene, chief investment officer at G Squared Private Wealth. She spoke on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime.”
On Tuesday, the ISM manufacturing index showing the share of companies reporting expansion in October came in 0.9 percentage point lower than September. The JOLTS report showed 1.9 job openings for every available worker.
“That’s just not a great number for the Fed, it’s still a tight job market,” Greene said. “So I think they’re still between a rock and a hard place. They’re going to have to hike. Nobody likes it. Everybody wants them to stop, but it’s like a car crash in slow motion. They just can’t stop hiking.”
In addition to the Fed policy decision, investors will also be watching for mortgage application data and ADP’s employment report, both due out Wednesday morning.
Earnings season will continue Wednesday with health-care companies including CVS Health, Humana and GlaxoSmithKline before the bell. Paramount and Yum! Brands are also on deck.