U.S. stock-index futures rose on Wednesday, as European and Japanese stocks gained in early trade ahead of policy announcements from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan.
The Federal Open Market Committee's decision is due at 2 p.m. ET. No change in interest rates is expected but the wording of the FOMC's statement may hint at the possible timing of its next rate hike.
"In another era, there would be massive pressure on the FOMC to raise rates but no-one expects anything from today's meeting. Still, some acknowledgement of the improved economic backdrop is likely in the statement and the market will go on slowly raising the odds of a 2016 rate hike," Kit Juckes, strategist at Societe Generale, said in a note on Wednesday.
The main U.S. economic data due on Wednesday are durable goods orders for June. There will also be pending home sales, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index and crude oil inventories. The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed 1.7 percent higher overnight.
Media reports suggested the Japanese government would shortly launch a $265 billion fiscal stimulus package and that the Bank of Japan was considering multiple monetary stimulus proposals. These include cutting interest rates further into negative territory, more bond-buying or expanding its stimulus program to include other assets such as exchange-traded funds, according to the Nikkei. The Bank of Japan will start its two-day policy meeting on Thursday.