Investing.com - U.S. stock markets pointed to a lower open on Wednesday morning, after reaching fresh record highs in the previous session, as investors looked ahead to the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting for further hints on the timing and pace of future rate hikes.
The blue-chip Dow futures shed 41 points, or about 0.2%, at 6:55AM ET (11:55GMT), the S&P 500 futures dipped 7 points, or 0.3%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 12 points, or 0.2%.
U.S. stocks rose to fresh record highs on Tuesday, boosted by strong earnings reports.
The Fed will release minutes of its most recent policy meeting on Wednesday at 2:00PM ET (19:00GMT). The U.S. central bank held interest rates steady following its meeting on February 1 and painted a relatively upbeat picture of the economy, although it gave no firm signal on the timing of its next rate move.
Besides the Fed minutes, there are two Fed speakers Wednesday. Central bank Governor Jerome Powell speaks at 1:00PM ET (18:00GMT) in New York at the Forecasters Club of New York on the economic outlook and policy. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan discusses issues facing the global economy at a Dallas Fed event at 7:05PM ET.
On the data front, Wednesday's calendar features existing home sales for January at 10AM ET (15:00GMT).
Fed fund futures priced in about a 22% chance of a rate hike in March, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool. Odds of a May increase was seen at around 50%, while June odds were at 73%.
In earnings news, Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL), DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and TJX (NYSE:TJX) are among the major companies scheduled to report before the bell. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), Square (NYSE:SQ), HP (NYSE:HPQ) and L Brands (NYSE:LB) are all due to report after the market close.
Elsewhere, European stock markets were mixed during mid-morning trade, after hitting a 14-month high earlier in the session as investors digested key earnings reports and monitored political risk in France.
Earlier, in Asia, markets ended the day slightly higher, with the Shanghai Composite in China closing up around 0.2%, while Japan's Nikkei edged up less than 0.1%.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.2% to 101.66 in New York morning trade, within sight of last week's more than one-month high of 101.75.
Meanwhile, oil prices pulled back but held near the prior session's seven-week high, amid optimism that OPEC and its allies have been following through on their commitment to cut production.
U.S. crude was down 19 cents, or around 0.4%, to $54.14, while Brent shed 19 cents to $56.47 a barrel.
Market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on Wednesday and Thursday to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.
The reports come out one day later than usual due to Monday's President's Day holiday.