Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Wednesday, August 16:
1. Fed minutes on tap
The Federal Reserve will release minutes of its most recent policy meeting on Wednesday at 2:00PM ET (18:00GMT).
The Fed left interest rates unchanged as widely expected following its meeting on July 26 and said it expected to start shrinking its massive holdings of bonds "relatively soon".
The central bank also noted weakness in U.S. inflation more explicitly than before. The recognition of soft inflation added to expectations that the Fed's plan to raise interest rates a third time this year might be delayed.
Futures traders are currently pricing in about a 50% chance of another rate hike by December, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool. Odds increased after retail sales data on Tuesday registered its largest increase of the year.
2. Draghi to avoid ECB policy talk at Jackson Hole
European Central Bank president Mario Draghi will not deliver a new policy message at the U.S. Federal Reserve's Jackson Hole economic symposium, according to sources cited Wednesday by Reuters.
Instead, Draghi will focus on the theme of the symposium, fostering a dynamic global economy, in order to avoid entering policy discussion ahead of the ECB in September.
Market speculation had been that Draghi could use the meeting to signal plans for an eventual reduction, or tapering, of the ECB’s asset purchase program.
The news initially disappointed euro bulls with the single currency falling to intraday lows of $1.1692, though EUR/USD recovered and was last off just 0.07% at 1.1725 by 5:58AM ET (9:58GMT).
3. Oil rises on hopes for bullish inventory data
Oil prices edged higher on Wednesday, bouncing off their lowest levels in three weeks amid speculation weekly supply data due later in the session will show another big drop in U.S. crude inventories.
After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories fell by 9.16 million barrels in the week ended August 11, beating expectations for a drop of just 0.47 million barrels.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official weekly oil supplies report at 10:30AM ET (14:30GMT). Analysts expect crude oil inventories dropped by around 3.0 million barrels at the end of last week. If confirmed, it would mark a seventh weekly decline in a row.
U.S. crude oil futures gained 0.69% to $47.88 at 5:58AM ET (9:58GMT), while Brent oil traded up 0.87% to $51.24.
4. Global stocks mostly higher ahead as metal prices support miners
Global stocks were mostly higher as investors focused generally positive data points and an increase in metal prices drove mining stocks higher.
U.S. futures pointed to a higher open as investors waited for clues on Fed policy with the minutes from its most recent meeting. At 5:59AM ET (9:59GMT), the blue-chip Dow futures gained 0.27%, S&P 500 futures rose 0.27% while the Nasdaq 100 futures traded up 0.37%.
Elsewhere, European shares were boosted by strong gains in miners as euro zone growth in the second quarter was unexpectedly revised higher. London's FTSE 100 traded up 0.68% as the UK showed a surprise drop in the jobless rate to a fresh 42-year low and wage inflation accelerated.
Earlier, Asian equities ended mixed with Japan off 0.1% and Shanghai down around 0.2%, but the Hang Seng and the S&P/ASX 200 closed with gains of 0.9% and 0.5%, respectfully.
5. China returns as #1 U.S. creditor
China reclaimed the top position as the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt after increasing holdings for a fifth straight month to reach $1.147 trillion in Treasuries in June.
The world’s second largest economy topped Japan who had been in the lead since last October.
Together, the two Asian countries account for more than a third of foreign ownership of U.S. Treasuries.