Stock futures pause ahead of Fed decision

Fed Chairman Powell has signaled the panel will announce it will start paring its $120B in monthly bond purchases as soon as this month.

U.S. equity futures traded mixed Wednesday morning, the day after the Dow closed above 36,000 and ahead of news expected from the Federal Reserve's policy meeting.

The major futures indexes are little changed ahead of the opening bell.

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Investors hit the pause button while awaiting comments from the Fed. The central bank was expected to disclose plans to ease the extraordinary support measures to shore up markets and the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has signaled the panel will announce post-meeting that it will start paring its $120 billion in monthly bond purchases as soon as this month. Those purchases are intended to keep long-term loan rates low to encourage borrowing and spending.

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It will be a busy day for economic news.

The first of this week's labor-related reports will come in the form of payroll processing firm ADP's National Employment report for October. Economists are looking for a gain of 400,000 private-sector jobs, down from a much stronger-than-expected increase of 568,000 in September.

The Labor Department will release its jobs report for October on Friday.

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Other reports include the U.S. trade balance for September, the Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing PMI for October and also September factory orders. 

Morning earnings numbers are expected from health care giants CVS Health and Humana. After the closing bell watch for Fox News and Fox Business parent Fox Corp., life and health insurer MetLife, and chip maker Qualcomm.

In Europe, London's FTSE is off 0.2%, Germany's DAX declined 0.1% and France's CAC gave up 0.1%.

Shares were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday, weighed down by concerns over disrupted supply chains and shipping.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.3%, while China's Shanghai Composite index lost 0.2%.

Tokyo's markets were closed for a holiday.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34899.34 -905.04 -2.53%
SP500 S&P 500 4594.62 -106.84 -2.27%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 15491.656804 -353.57 -2.23%

On Tuesday, the Dow gained 0.4% to 36,052.63, while the S&P 500 index extended its winning streak into a fourth day,

The tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.3% to 15,649.60.

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Technology and health care stocks helped power much of the advance. 

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In energy news, benchmark U.S. crude is trading $1.40 lower to $82.51 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the basis for international pricing, shed $1.22 to $83.55 per barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.