According to stock index futures as of 7:40 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.27%) will start the session slightly higher, rising by 12 points at the opening bell. As the Federal Open Market Committee's two-day policy meeting kicks off today, most economists expect the Fed to announce a scaling-back of its bond-buying program from $85 billion per month to $75 billion per month. But trading could be volatile depending on the details of the Fed's assessment of the economy and its forecast for interest rates in the years ahead.
Overnight, world markets ticked down after yesterday's big gains, and long-term Treasury yields were below their recent highs, at about 2.85%.
With those larger trends in mind, here are a few individual stock stories to watch for in today's market.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM 1.66%) is racking up the fines. The bank will have to pay at least $800 million in penalties tied to the "London Whale" trades that sparked $6 billion in losses last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. JPMorgan is also expected to admit fault by confessing that its internal controls were lacking at the time. The company announced a new $4 billion investment in legal reserves and risk-management expenses just last week, and at this pace it could make use of every dollar in that stash. The stock is unchanged in premarket trading.
Outerwall (OUTR) shares look set to be punished by the market after the company warned that its Redbox revenue and profit will be much lower than expected. Outerwall, formerly known as Coinstar, now sees sales of about $580 million in the third quarter, as compared to the $620 million it projected before. The company also sees profit coming in well below expectations, at about $0.88 per share. Redbox customers are returning their DVDs more quickly, and that's leading to less revenue per rental. It also can't help that Netflix is no longer shedding DVD subscribers by the millions as it did last year. Outerwall shares are down 15.6% in premarket trading.
Finally, Pandora (P) could see active trading today after the company announced a secondary stock offering. With shares at an all-time high, it plans to issue 10 million new shares, which will raise around $250 million. Pandora sure could use the cash as it prepares for more competition in the streaming-music business, including from supremely well-capitalized Apple and its iTunes radio. However, existing shareholders will see a nearly 8% dilution in their ownership. Pandora's stock is down by about 2% in premarket trading.