U.S. stocks headed for a narrowly mixed opening Wednesday as investors await the Federal Reserve's latest take on the economy and any hint of the central bank's plans for short-term interest rates.
With the Fed set to end a two-day meeting, investors will be awaiting to see whether its midafternoon statement will address a recent perception of a further slowdown in the economy. The Fed left interest rates unchanged at its last five meetings after a string of 17 straight increases that began in 2004. While the Fed isn't expected to move on rates Wednesday, investors will be anxious for any sign of where the Fed might go next.
On a day in which most of Wall Street's attention will be squarely on the Fed, a few key earnings reports should also draw interest. Morgan Stanley's fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue blew past Wall Street's estimate Wednesday, perhaps setting up a rise in brokerage stocks Wednesday. FedEx Corp. said its fiscal third quarter earnings came in stronger than expected despite a slowing economy, winter storms and a decrease in fuel surcharges but warned its fiscal 2008 profits could fall below its expectations.
After the closing bell Tuesday, Oracle Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. turned in stronger-than-expected results.
Starbucks Corp. also convenes its annual meeting Wednesday.
Wednesday's session follows two days of gains on Wall Street and after gains in Asia Wednesday. In Europe, stocks reversed earlier losses to trade higher.
Dow Jones industrials futures expiring in June fell 1 point, or 0.01 percent, to 12,384. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures slipped 0.30, or 0.02 percent, to 1,423.20, while Nasdaq 100 index futures rose 4.00, or 0.22 percent, to 1,796.25.