RTTNews - U.S stock futures point to a slightly higher opening Wednesday morning as traders await policy pronouncement from the Federal Reserve at the conclusion of its FOMC meeting. While interest rates will likely be kept unchanged, the outlook for the economy from Fed's view will be on traders' radar.

As of 6.30 am ET, the Dow Futures were up 11.00 points, the S&P Futures were up 0.80 points, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were up 3.00 points.

Traders await the policy pronouncement from the Federal Reserve at the conclusion of the FOMC meeting at 2.15 p.m ET. While the interest rates will likely be maintained at the present level, traders will be keen to read between the lines regarding the health of the economy which is showing definite signs of bottoming out.

Traders will also look for trade gap data for June, slated for release at 8.30 a.m. ET and Treasury Budget for the month of July at 2.00 p.m. ET. Economists expect that trade gap for June at $28.5 billion and Treasury Budget for July to show a deficit of $180 billion.

The Energy Information Administration will be releasing the customary weekly inventory report for the week ended August 7th at 10.30 a.m. ET.

Earnings continue to be in the focus of the traders as the reporting season approaches the final phase. Prominent companies slated to release their report cards during the day include processed and packaged foods company Sara Lee (SLE), department stores operator Macy's Inc. (M) and information and technology company Harris (HRS).

Traders will also be digesting the report cards of major companies that reported quarterly results after the market closed for trading on Tuesday.

Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT), the world's biggest semiconductor equipment maker, said Tuesday after the markets closed that it swung to a third quarter loss, as sales dropped 39% amid weak demand in light of the continuing global recession.

Wireless broadband network service provider Clearwire Corp. (CLWR), said that its second quarter loss narrowed from last year, boosted by strong subscriber base and an increase in average revenue per user.

Semiconductor device maker Cree, Inc. (CREE) reported a rise in fourth-quarter profit, helped by higher gross margins and a 9% increase in revenues driven mainly by the growth in LEDs and LED lighting applications.

Restaurant operator and meat product company Bob Evans Farms Inc. (BOBE) said that its first quarter profit increased by 16.7% from last year, driven by lower cost of sales and well-controlled labor costs, restaurant margin improvements and favorable tax rate.

In corporate news, Swiss food and beverage company Nestle SA reported a decline in net profit for the first half of the year, as sales declined in the tough economy. The company's profit attributable to non-controlling interests, however, increased significantly from last year.

The world's largest mining company, BHP Billiton, reported a 30% drop in its profit for the full year, excluding writedowns, hurt by sharp drop in metal prices and lower demand.

Britain's Lloyds Banking Group announced that, as part of a shake-up of its asset-management units, it would sell a majority of its Insight Investment unit to Bank of New York Mellon for a consideration of $386 million.

On Tuesday, stocks ended in negative territory as traders preferred to lock in gains ahead of key economic data slated for release during the later part of the week that includes FOMC meeting announcement and retail sales.

The Dow closed down by 96.50 points or 1% at 9,241, the Nasdaq slipped by 22.51 points or 1.1% to 1,970 and the S&P 500 fell by 12.75 points or 1.3% to 994.

Oil Light sweet crude oil price for September delivery is presently quoted at $69.38 a barrel, down $0.07 from its previous close $69.45 a barrel in New York on Tuesday.

Dollar The US dollar surged up against the pound and the euro in Asian trading, but is presently paring gains in European trading. Against the yen, the dollar recovered from a 5-day low and is gaining slightly.

World Markets The markets across Asia have ended in negative territory on valuation concerns as traders preferred to lock gains and move to the sidelines ahead of the FOMC decision in the U.S. The markets in Europe are trading in the positive territory, recovering from early losses, lifted by utility stocks.

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