Futures inch higher ahead of the release of Fed notes

Wall Street pointed modestly higher Wednesday ahead of the release of notes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting, which investors hope might hint at a less aggressive stance on interest rates, a tool that the Fed has used to tame inflation, according to a report from the Associated Press.

There is heightened concern that the Fed and other central banks might be willing to push economies into recession to extinguish inflation hovering at multidecade highs. More hikes are on the way, but many are looking for any sign that a slowing economy will prompt the Fed and others to ease back.

The Fed’s key lending rate stands at a range of 4.25% to 4.5%, up from close to zero following seven increases last year to cool economic activity and upward pressure on prices. The U.S. central bank forecasts that it will reach a range of 5% to 5.25% by the end of 2023. It isn’t calling for a rate cut before 2024.

The U.S. government is due to release December employment figures Friday. The job market has remained very strong, which can undercut any potential move by the Fed to ease rates. The central bank’s next decision on interest rates is set for Feb. 1.