Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMZ6, -0.11% rose 26 points, or 0.2%, to 18,037, while those for the S&P 500 index ESZ6, -0.09% climbed 4.5 points, or 0.2%, to 2,126. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index NQZ6, +0.09% gained 15.75 points, or 0.3%, to 4,739.75.
All three stock-index gauges on Tuesday suffered big losses as a sharp slump in energy prices and uncertainty about the Federal Reserve’s plans for monetary policy spooked investors out of equities. The S&P 500 index SPX, -1.48% ended the day 1.5% lower, while the Dow average DJIA, -1.41% lost 1.4%, enough to erase their solid gains from Monday.
On Wednesday, oil futures were steady with crude oil CLV6, -1.16% trading 0.5% lower.
The Energy Information Administration later on Wednesday releases its weekly inventory data, forecast to show a rebound in stockpiles.
Fed watching: Traders were still hesitant of dipping their toes too deep into stocks ahead of the closely watched Federal Reserve meeting on Sept. 20-21.
“With the U.S. central bank now in blackout period ahead of the decision next Wednesday, there is little in the way of positive drivers helping underpin the market at this time,” said Michael Hewson chief market analyst at CMC Markets, in a note.
“On the plus side, we won’t have to listen to the arguments over whether Fed policy makers think they should or shouldn’t raise rates when they convene to meet next week,” he added. “Though it is clear that despite the rebound in the U.S. dollar over the past few days, it would be a major surprise if the Fed did anything at all next week.”
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed new subsidies for child care in Philadelphia on Tuesday evening, hoping to reach out to women and suburban swing voters.
The CME FedWatch Tool is showing a 15% probability of a rate increase next week. Goldman Sachs on Monday cut its September hike odds to 25% from 40% following dovish comments from Fed Gov. Lael Brainard.
The economic calendar was relatively thin on Wednesday. Market reaction to the August import-price index was muted. Import prices slipped 0.2% due to lower oil, while export prices dropped 0.8%, driven by a fall in farm crop prices.
See: MarketWatch’s economic calendar
Movers and shakers: Shares of Monsanto Co. MON, -0.83% rose 0.8% in heavy premarket trade after Bayer AG BAYN, +4.37% BAYA, +3.52% raised its offer for the U.S. seeds major to $128 a share. Both companies have approved the deal, they said on Wednesday. Monsanto shares were up more than 1% earlier on Wednesday after media reports said Bayer had sweetened the offer to $129. Bayer shares were up 0.8% in Frankfurt after the announcement.
Philip Morris International Inc. PM, -1.70% could also be active after the cigarette maker lifted its dividend by 2% to an annualized rate of $4.16 a share.
Apple Inc. AAPL, +2.38% climbed 0.9%. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets outlined five reasons the tech giant is still a buy as the iPhone 7 cycle begins.
Ford Motor Co. F, -2.52% fell 0.9% ahead of the bell after the car maker outlined plans to deliver profitable growth for the next several years, including investing in electric and autonomous vehicles.
Shares of Macy’s Inc. M, -1.68% rallied 2.4% after analysts at Citi updated the stock to buy from neutral.
Other markets: The dollar DXY, +0.04% dropped against most other major currencies, but staged a rally against the yen USDJPY, +0.37%
Metals rose across the board, with gold GCZ6, +0.05% up 0.1% at $1,325.20.
Stocks in Asia closed mainly lower, while all major European stock markets advanced.