Markets

U.S. futures sharply lower as Fed rally short-lived; Dow drops 1.5%

Forexpros - U.S. stock futures pointed to a broadly lower open on Wednesday, after rallying sharply the previous day on the Federal Reserve's pledge to keep rates at ultra-low levels "at least" through mid-2013.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a loss of 1.5%, the S&P 500 futures fell 1.3%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 1.9%.

The Federal Reserve pledged on Tuesday to keep its benchmark interest rate at an all-time low, adding that it will maintain a loose monetary policy until "at least through mid-2013."

In a statement, the Fed said growth was much slower than expected and the labor market had deteriorated, underlining concerns over the U.S. economic outlook.

The Fed also indicated that it "discussed the range of policy tools available to promote a strong economic outlook recovery in a context of price stability" and said it was prepared to employ the tools "as appropriate".

Meanwhile, shares in Walt Disney tumbled 4.3% after the company reported restructuring and impairment charges totaling USD34 million in the third quarter.

On the upside, department store operator Macy's saw shares climb 3% after reporting a 64% increase in second quarter profit. The upbeat results prompted the company to raise its full-year earnings forecast.

Clothing retailer Polo Ralph Lauren saw shares surge 10.2% after it said fiscal first quarter net income rose 52% to USD184.1 million. Revenue in the quarter rose 28% to USD1.49 billion, above expectations for revenue of USD1.43 billion.

Other notable earnings scheduled for Wednesday include, technology firm Cisco Systems and media giant News Corp., which were both slated to report results after the closing bell.

Meanwhile, shares in Bank of America could be active, as chief executive Brian Moynihan was scheduled to face an investor conference call later in the day with Fairholme Capital, which owns around 92 million shares in the bank.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets posted sharp losses, as mounting fears over sovereign debt contagion weighed. The EURO STOXX 50 tumbled 1.7%, France's CAC 40 fell 1.5%, Germany's DAX shed 0.5%, while Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.25% lower.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 2.1%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.9%.

A report from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed that China's trade surplus widened to USD31.5 billion in July, the highest level in more than two years. Analysts had expected China's trade surplus to widen to USD27.4 billion.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to produce data on the federal budget balance as well as reports on crude oil stockpiles and wholesale inventories.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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