With traders largely shrugging off some weaker than expected economic data, stocks are likely to see some strength in early trading on Wednesday. The futures are currently indicating a moderately higher open, with the Dow futures up 70 points.
The upward momentum for the markets comes even though a report from the Commerce Department showed that first quarter gross domestic product fell by more than expected despite a rebound in consumer spending.
The report showed that GDP decreased at an annual rate of 6.1 percent in the first quarter compared to a 6.3 percent drop in the fourth quarter. Economists had been expecting a more modest decline of about 4.7 percent.
Negative contributions from exports, private inventory investment, and equipment and software spending helped to offset a 2.2 percent increase in consumer spending.
Nonetheless, trading activity could be somewhat subdued, as some traders are likely to stay on the sidelines ahead of the Federal Reserve's announcement of the outcome of its two-day policy setting meeting this afternoon.
While the Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, traders are likely to pay close attention to the accompanying statement, looking for indications of the Fed's future plans regarding the capital markets as well as its outlook for the economy.
In corporate news, Time Warner (TWX) reported adjusted first quarter earnings of $0.45 per share on revenues of $6.95 billion. Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of $0.38 per share on revenues of $6.78 billion. The media giant also reaffirmed its full-year guidance.
Meanwhile, Bank of America (BAC) Chairman and CEO Kenneth Lewis is expected to face severe shareholder antagonism at the bank's annual meeting on Wednesday.
Shareholders will cast ballots on whether to re-elect the bank's directors and split the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer positions held by Lewis.
After once again failing to sustain an initial downward move, stocks showed a lack of direction throughout the trading day on Tuesday. The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before eventually ending the session modestly lower.
As was the case on Monday, the major averages turned higher over the course of the morning after seeing some early weakness. However, the major averages once again slipped back into the red by the close, with the Dow closing down about 8 points.
After ending the previous session down $0.22 at $49.92 a barrel, crude oil futures are rising $0.80 to $50.72 a barrel. Gold futures are also trading up $3.80 at $897.40 an ounce after falling $14.60 to $893.60 an ounce on Tuesday.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 96.751 yen, stronger than the 96.445 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. The greenback is currently valued at $1.3256 a euro compared to yesterday's $1.3144.
Overseas, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended Wednesday's trading firmly in positive territory, as traders went bargain hunting. However, the Japanese market remained closed on account of Showa Day.
The major European markets are rising also solidly, with the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index posting a 1.3 percent gain, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are advancing 1.4 percent 1.0 percent, respectively.
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