Modest open likely for U.S. markets Wednesday after key equity gauges including Dow Jones futures were a bit down on early Wednesday morning. 

The S&P 500 index and Nasdaq composite were also subdued despite Tuesday’s rally.  

All eyes are on the U.S Fed meeting’s outcome. The general expectation is that it will release its policy statement at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) and cut lending rates for the second time after July.  That can lead to a rally in the equities. 

In case, if the expected Fed rate cut does not happen or policymakers adopt a hawkish policy stand, the market may slide.

Oil price falls

The oil price fell on Wednesday after Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said it would restore lost oil capacity by the end of the month.

But Middle East tension is likely to linger as the United States insists the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities originated from south-west Iran despite that country’s denials.

Brent crude futures fell 0.2 percent to $64.40 a barrel by 0253 GMT. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 0.6 percent to $58.99 a barrel.

“The risk of further escalation of conflict in the Middle East remains over the energy market and swings are expected if tit-for-tat responses from a Saudi-U.S coordinated effort,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda in New York.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman tried to reassure customers that the average oil production in September and October would be 9.89 million barrels per day and supply commitments to customers will remain normal.

The U.S. crude inventories jumped by half a million barrels in the week ended Sept. 13 to touch 422.5 million, per data by industry group American Petroleum Institute. This negated the expected decrease projected by analysts.

Asia Pacific stocks mixed

Stocks in the Asia Pacific were mixed on Wednesday, according to stock market news. Investors are awaiting the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision.

Among the likely market catalysts, the Fed’s latest decision on monetary policy ma see a second rate cut of some 25 basis points. 

In mainland China, shares jumped. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.25 percent while Hong Kong’s stock market Hang Seng index was up fractionally.  GettyImages-Stock market April 26 Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 11, 2019 in New York City. Photo: Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.18 percent while the Topix fell 0.49 percent. Australia’s ASX 200 slipped 0.2 percent. 

The Indian shares closed nominally higher. The BSE Sensex rose 0.23 percent while the NSE Nifty50 jumped 0.21 percent. 

The markets in Europe were marginally up Wednesday amid investor attention on the expected U.S. interest rate cut.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 moved higher 0.1 percent during morning deals with most sectors in positive territory.

The gold price jumped on Wednesday. The spot gold traded 0.3 percent higher at $1,502.80 per ounce while the U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,511 an ounce.

“Traders’ positioning in gold right now is prep for the Fed meeting,” said Michael Matousek, head trader at the U.S. Global Investors.