Stock futures are muted as investors await the Federal Reserve’s rate decision

Stock futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s latest decision to raise interest rates in an effort to quell inflation.

Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 2 points, or less than 0.1%. Futures linked to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were also roughly equal.

The central bank is expected to wrap up its December meeting and deliver a 50 basis point rate hike. It was a small bump after four consecutive 75 basis point hikes. A basis point is equal to one-hundredth of a percent.

Chairman Jerome Powell will also speak on Wednesday, offering more clues about what’s to come from the Fed in 2023. At meetings earlier this year, traders sensed Powell’s language and interpreted his tone as hawkish or foolish.

“We expect the central bank to slow the pace of rate hikes at Wednesday’s meeting, and policymakers may stress that the job of reining in inflation is far from over,” UBS’s Mark Hafel wrote in a note Wednesday. “Job creation and wage growth will need to accelerate before the Fed stops hiking.”

Stocks soared On the second day, Tuesday, fueled by A Cooler than expected inflation report. November’s consumer price index was up 7.1% year-over-year, less than the 7.3% gain expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones. The 0.1% increase from the previous month was lower than forecast.

A signal that inflation may have peaked was positive for stocks, meaning the central bank may be a step closer to halting interest rate hikes or switching to cuts, fueling stocks.

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