Markets

U.S. Stocks Set for Lower Open Ahead of Federal Reserve Rate Announcement

U.S. stocks were set to open lower Wednesday as markets readied to parse the Federal Open Market Committee's monetary policy statement in the afternoon for clues as to an interest-rate increase.

The FOMC's two-day meeting ends later Wednesday, with the economic policy makers set to make an announcement at 2 p.m. ET. Interest rates are expected to remain unchanged but the central bank is also expected to remove references to being "patient" with raising interest rates on the back of largely positive economic data, which market participants expect could mean a rate increase in June.

At 2:30 p.m. the Fed will release economic projections and there will be a press conference with Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

In equities, Vitesse Semiconductor ( VTSS ) shares surged 37% in recent pre-market trading after the supplier of integrated circuits for networking applications agreed to be acquired by semiconductor company Microsemi ( MSCC ) for $389 million. Shares of shipping-and-delivery provider FedEx, meanwhile, slipped 1.1% after reporting fiscal Q3 revenue that missed the Street view and guidance for fiscal 2015 earnings that was below analysts' mean estimate.

U.S. PRE-MARKET INDICATORS

-Dow Jones Industrial down 0.4%

-S&P 500 futures down 0.3%

-Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.3%

-Nasdaq 100 pre-market indicator down 0.1%

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei up 0.6%

Hang Seng up 0.9%

Shanghai Composite up 2.4%

FTSE-100 up 0.9%

DAX-30 down 0.8%

PRE-MARKET SECTOR WATCH

(+/-) Large cap tech: mixed

(-) Chip stocks: unchanged to lower

(+/-) Software stocks: mixed

(-) Hardware stocks: lower

(-) Internet stocks: unchanged to lower

(+/-) Drug stocks: mixed

(-) Financial stocks: unchanged to lower

(-) Retail stocks: unchanged to lower

(-) Industrial stocks: unchanged to lower

(+) Airlines: higher

(+/-) Autos: mixed

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) NVGN (+44.0%) Cancer drug achieves major milestone

(+) RTRX (+37.6%) FDA approves cholbam capsules to treat bile acid disorders

(+) ATNM (+11.9%) Announces data on acute myeloid leukemia treatment

(+) RXDX (+26.3%) buys rights to TEVA's oncology development programs in exchange for stock

(+) AKRX (+8.1%) Filed 10K with restatement of chargeback reserve

(+) HUBS (+2.3%) Prices 4.1 million follow-on public offering at $37 each

(+) P (+3.2%) CRT Capital upgrades to buy vs fair value

(+) VRTX (+2.3%) Gets FDA OK for cystic fibrosis treatment for children ages 2 to 5

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) ADBE (-4.6%) Sees Q2 EPS in line with views

(-) BABA (-1.0%) Lockup of 340 million shares expires

(-) JPM (-0.4%) Approves $6.4 billion buyback; reportedly buys OCN's mortgage-servicing rights

(-) RSPP (-4.7%) Prices 9-million-share sale at $25.80 each

(-) ANTH (-3.4%) Plans to sell shares in underwritten public offering

(-) BGC (-3.8%) BB&T downgrades to hold

(-) NKTR (-15.0%) Breast cancer study doesn't meet endpoints

(-) ESPR (-1.6%) To sell $150 million in stock in underwritten public offering

(-) CRR (-1.6%) Cuts Q2 dividend

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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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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