S&P 500 pre-market futures pointed to a firm open in New York, as investors kept risk appetite in check ahead of the two-day Federal Reserve meeting.

With the Federal Reserve expected to hold rates steady, economists will remain watchful for any signs of when the US central bank will cease trimming its balance sheet, as well as insights into central bankers’ economic forecasts.

The March US central bank’s policy meeting comes after the FOMC, in January, altered its statement to say it would be “patient”, as it considers future adjustments to its monetary policy.

Policymakers had lifted interest rates four times last year, but have since dialed back expectations for tightening in 2019, responding to soft inflation growth, the global economy and a volatile stock market in December.

Today’s speculative pre-market price action comes after Monday’s trading, where Wall Street closed at a four-month high, fueled by optimism surrounding a fresh insight into the Fed’s monetary policy.

The S&P 500 overcame a muted start to finish +0.36% higher, with gains led by Bank stocks (+1.47%) – boosted by growing speculation that weak economic data will not only ensure the US central bank will keep rates on hold, but possibly prompt it to start cutting later this year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite shared a similar fate, ending the session positive +0.25% and +0.06%, respectively.

In addition to the start of the Fed meeting, today’s economic calendar includes; Cap Goods and Factory Orders data for January at 10am EST.

In earnings; FedEx (FDX), Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) and DSW (DSW) are amongst the major companies reporting today.


Brexit: EU Delay Plan Said to Allow for New Vote on Deal. (Bloomberg)
Theresa May looks set to seek a long Brexit delay after the House of Commons speaker torpedoed her plan to put her deal to another vote in Parliament. EU leaders are planning to offer a conditional extension giving the prime minister time for one last try, people familiar with the plan have said.

China & Trade: US Chip Makers Fear Trap in a Trade Deal With China. (The WSJ)
US semiconductor companies want no part of any trade deal that calls for stepped-up purchases from China, worried that would give Beijing more control over their industry.

Today’s Economical Announcements

10:00AM – ★★☆ – Cap Goods Non.Def (MoM) (Previous: 0.8%)
10:00AM – ★★☆ – Factory Orders (MoM) (Jan) (Previous: 0.1%)

Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks

Del Taco Restaurants (TACO): [EARNINGS] Reported adjusted quarterly profit of 18 cents per share, missing estimates by a penny a share. Revenue exceeded forecasts. The restaurant chain also gave a full-year earnings forecast of 47 cents to 52 cents per share on an adjusted basis, short of the consensus forecast of 57 cents a share.

Revlon (REV): [NEWS] Revlon said it found a “material weakness” in its financial reporting, although the cosmetics maker said it does not expect any changes to previously reported results. The company said the weakness relates to the implementation of a back-end technology system.

Five Below (FIVE): [UPGRADE] Upgraded to “buy” from “hold” at Loop Capital Markets, which thinks the discount retailer has improved its merchandising and execution within its stores.

Booking Holdings (BKNG): [DOWNGRADE] Downgraded to “market perform” from “outperform” at Telsey Advisory Group, with Telsey pointing to increased competition for the parent of Priceline and other travel sites from the likes of Airbnb and Google.

Tesla (TSLA): [NEWS] CEO Elon Musk has not sought pre-approval for any tweet related to the automaker since striking a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to a filing by the commission with a judge. The SEC is seeking to hold Musk in contempt of court for alleged violation of the settlement agreement.

Netflix (NFLX): [NEWS] CEO Reed Hastings said the video streaming service will not make its movies or TV shows available on the new video offering that Apple is expected to announce next week. Hastings said he prefers that customers view Netflix content on the company’s own service.

Boeing (BA): [NEWS] Canadian officials are re-examining the approval the country gave to Boeing’s 737 MAX jets. Transport Minister Marc Garneau said that no action might be taken, but that the move was wise in light of the worldwide grounding of the aircraft following two fatal crashes in the past few months.

21st Century Fox (FOXA): [NEWS] Will begin trading today under new and reassigned ticker symbol and name, following the completion of Walt Disney’s (DIS) purchase of Fox assets.