US stocks trade mixed as investors mull a wave of corporate earnings and the Fed's upcoming decision

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  • US stocks were mixed at the open as investors mulled over a wave of corporate earnings and awaited the FOMC meeting today.
  • The Fed is expected to hold its benchmark interest rate near zero and maintain its pace of asset purchases.
  • Microsoft and Google’s parent Alphabet beat earnings expectations.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US stocks were mixed on Wednesday as investors digested an onslaught of corporate earnings and awaited the upcoming monetary policy decision from the Federal Reserve.

Google’s parent Alphabet jumped 5.1% in premarket trading after beating earnings expectations and receiving a number of price target upgrades from Wall Street analysts. Microsoft beat earnings per share and revenue expectations, though its stock slipped in the premarket hours.

The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to hold its benchmark interest rate near zero and maintain its pace of asset purchases when it completes its two-day policy meeting. The FOMC will release a statement at 2:00 p.m. ET today with Chairman Powell following up with a press conference at 2:30 p.m ET.

Economists from Jefferies don’t expect there to be many changes from the previous meeting’s statement.

“We expect that the policy statement will reflect the Committee’s acknowledgement that the economy is on a better track and that much progress has been made since the last meeting,” said chief financial economist Aneta Markowska and economist Thomas Simmons. “However, while we don’t know the definition of ‘substantial’ for sure, we do not think that progress will qualify such that it meets the Fed’s threshold to begin the tapering of Fed asset purchases.”

Markowska and Simmons also expect Powell to emphasize the gap between the current state of the labor market and where it was pre-COVID, while emphasizing the Fed’s patience in its approach to raising rates.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Wednesday:

  • S&P 500: 4,191.96, up 0.13%
  • Dow Jones industrial average: 33,918.76, down 0.2% (66.17 points)
  • Nasdaq composite: 14,076.94, down 0.05%

After the closing bell today, Facebook and Apple report earnings. Find a full calendar of this week’s earnings here.

Also on the radar is Joe Biden’s first address as president to a joint session of Congress at 9 p.m. ET. The presidentis expected to push for major spending and tax hikes as part of his American Families Plan.

US bond yields rose on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, with the yield on the key 10-year US Treasury note climbing to a near 2-week high of 1.645%.

West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.2%, to $63.62 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, was up 1%, to $67.06 per barrel, at intraday lows.

Gold climbed as much as 0.5%, to $1,769.80 per ounce.

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