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Pre-Market Primer: FedEx Corporation Beats Expectations; Stocks Rise Before Fed's Tapering Decision

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The question is really how much the Fed will pull back.

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Stocks advanced slightly today as investors hold off on big moves until the Fed releases its decision.

Today at 2 p.m., the Fed will release its policy decision and predictions for economic growth. Half an hour later, Ben Bernanke will deliver a press conference on the latest Federal Open Markets Committee meeting. Today, we will find out whether the Fed will tighten monetary policy, and by how much. Most economists expect to see a small reduction in the Fed's monthly level of asset purchases. A faster-than-expected pullback could, however, send investors for the hills.

Stock futures were slightly higher this morning while Asian and European indices posted gains. Before the opening bell, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were up 0.04% at 15,471. Futures contracts on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) gained 0.07% to 1,699.50 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures rose 0.24% to 3,191.75. Gold prices fell 0.75% at $1,299.60/oz.

Housing starts fell slightly in August and missed expectations as higher interest rates weighed on the housing market. The rate at which homebuilders broke ground on new homes fell to an annualized 891,000, down from 896,000.

FedEx (NYSE:FDX) shares rose 2.9% today after the company delivered better-than-expected earnings. The world's largest air freight carrier, a bellwether company for the world economy, reported earnings of $1.53 per share, beating expectations by $0.03.

Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) rose 3.51% in the pre-market after the discount retailer said that its board approved $2 billion in stock buybacks.

Adobe Systems Inc (NASDAQ:ADBE) shares rose 5.3% this morning despite reporting that fiscal third quarter profit fell to $0.32 from $0.58 a year ago. The upside was that it is added subscription users. Adobe is transitioning from selling software packages to allowing graphics professionals to use its products in the cloud for a monthly fee. The number of Creative Cloud users rose 331,000 to 1.03 million over the quarter.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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