* Fed statement at 2 p.m. ET; Yellen presser 30 mins later
* Dow less than 1 pct away from 20,000 mark
* Nov retail sales up 0.1 pct vs 0.3 pct gain est
* GM, Ford fall after news of potential China penalty
* Futures down: Dow 14 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 0.5 pts
(Adds details, comment, updates prices)
By Tanya Agrawal
Dec 14 Wall Street looked set to open little
changed on Wednesday, a day after all three major indexes hit
record highs, as investors refrained from making large bets
ahead of the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting where
the central bank is widely expected to raise interest rates.
The Fed is tipped to lift rates 25 basis points to 0.50-0.75
percent. The announcement is due at 2 p.m. ET (1900 GMT),
followed by Chair Janet Yellen's news conference 30 minutes
Market participants will be paying close attention to
Yellen's tone and new forecasts, seeking clues on policymakers'
thinking on how President-elect Donald Trump's policies will
impact growth and inflation.
However, concerns over a strengthening dollar continue with
the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a
basket of six major currencies, hitting 14-year peaks last
"Markets are acting like a zombie today ahead of the Fed
decision," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think
"It is not that they are not expecting a rate hike from the
Fed, it is the element of the unknown which Yellen would deliver
in her statement."
Dow e-minis were down 14 points, or 0.07 percent,
with 4,844 contracts changing hands at 8:32 a.m. ET (1332 GMT).
S&P 500 e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.09 percent, with
111,060 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down
0.5 points, or 0.01 percent, on volume of 6,870 contracts.
U.S. stocks racked up new all-time highs on Tuesday and the
Dow Jones industrial average ended fewer than 100 points away
from the 20,000 mark as a post-election rally showed no signs of
The Dow has climbed about 9 percent since the Nov. 8
election, with gains fueled by expectations that Trump will
reduce taxes and regulation and stimulate the economy.
"I don't think the Dow is an indicator of anything because
it's such a small sample and the way in which the index is
constructed," said Patrick Kaser, portfolio manager at
"But that said, right now we've been in a month of
bullishness and optimism and so the mood will swing to
skepticism as we wait for actual policies to come out."
Meanwhile, U.S. retail sales barely rose in November as
households cut back on purchases of motor vehicles. The Commerce
Department said retail sales edged up 0.1 percent. Economists
had forecast overall retail sales increasing 0.3 percent.
Shares of Nordson were up 7.9 percent at $112.78 in
premarket trading, a day after the industrial materials maker's
fourth-quarter results beat expectations.
General Motors fell 3.6 percent to $36 and Ford
declined 1.8 percent to $12.54 following a report that China
will soon slap a penalty on an unnamed U.S. automaker for
Hertz Global dropped 4.3 percent to $24.05 after the
car rental company said on Tuesday it would replace its chief
executive and reduce its board size.
Tech giants Apple, Amazon, Alphabet
, Microsoft, and Facebook were up
between 0.2 and 0.5 percent. Top executives at these companies
were scheduled to meet with Trump at his New York headquarters.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)