– Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Wednesday, January 31:
1. Fed rate decision on tap in last with Yellen as chair
The central bank will release its post-meeting statement as investors look for any change in language which could point more clearly to a rate hike in the months ahead.
The majority of economists believe that the Fed will hike rates in March, followed by another hike in June, with a third move higher arriving in December.
The dollar came under renewed selling pressure on Wednesday, sliding lower against a basket of the other major currencies ahead of the decision as well as another slew of economic data.
Market participants will also eye the Chicago purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for January out at 9:45AM ET (14:45GMT) as well as the release, 15 minutes later, of pending home sales for last month of 2017.
2. Trump brings infrastructure spending back on radar
President Donald Trump called on the U.S. Congress on Tuesday to pass legislation to stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in new infrastructure spending, though the he gave few details on the long-awaited spending plan.
In his State of the Union speech to Congress, Trump said it was time to address America’s “crumbling infrastructure.”
The President did seem wary of increasing the federal deficit which the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget calculates will pass $1 trillion dollars next year.
“Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private-sector investment,” he said.
3. Earnings season continues in full swing
Earnings season will continue in full swing on Wednesday with firms continuing to give a strong showing. As of Tuesday night, 169 of the S&P 500 firms had reported earnings with 82% beating profit estimates and 85% topping sales forecasts.
Among firms to watch on Wednesday, Boeing (NYSE:BA), DR Horton (NYSE:DHI) or Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) will report before the opening bell, while Microsoft(NASDAQ:MSFT), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) or eBay(NASDAQ:EBAY) will release their own earnings after the market close.
4. Oil heads for monthly gains of 6% ahead of inventories
Continuing concern over supply as U.S. shale producers pump more possibly offsetting OPEC-led production cuts and speculation that weekly supply data due later in the day will show an increase in U.S. oil and fuel inventories put downward pressure on oil prices on Wednesday.
After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories rose by nearly 3.2 million barrels last week, compared with analysts’ expectations for a more modest increase of around 0.1 million barrels.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official weekly oil supplies report for the week ended Jan. 26 at 10:30AM ET (15:30GMT), amid expectations for a build of 126,000 barrels.
5. Bitcoin on track for largest monthly decline in 4 years amid crypto bloodbath
All the major cryptocurrencies were trading lower across the board on Wednesday in the last trading day of the month while the largest by market cap, Bitcoin, was on track for the biggest monthly percentage decline since December 2013 amid growing fears over regulatory scrutiny.
Bitcoin slumped 6.3% at $10,199 by 5:58AM ET (11:58GMT) on the Bitfinex exchange. Prices are down around 25% so far this month, the worst monthly performance since December 2013.
Ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, tumbled 5.3% to $1,101.00 on the Bitfinex exchange, while Ripple‘s XRP token was trading down 7.8% at $1.1231 on the Poloniex exchange.
Bitcoin prices came under renewed selling pressure on Thursday following reports that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission sent subpoenas on Dec. 6 to cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex and Tether.