U.S. Stock Futures Point to Flat Opening

U.S. stock futures pointed to a flat open on Wall Street Wednesday before the Federal Reserve's statement on interest rates, but technology shares could rise after software Oracle Corp.'s profit beat estimates.

Design software maker Adobe Systems Inc. also posted quarterly results late on Tuesday that exceeded Wall Street's forecasts.

In Europe, Oracle shares rose 4 percent, while Adobe shares gained 3.4 percent. Merrill Lynch raised its price target on Oracle to $22 from $20.

"The Oracle and Adobe numbers were good. That should help a little bit. Asia and Europe are also pretty stable this morning," said Peter Dunay, investment strategist at Leeb Capital Management in New York.

"That combination suggests that the market looks OK at the opening, but certainly we're waiting for more news."

S&P 500 futures were off 1.90 points, about even with fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.

Dow Jones industrial average futures slipped 11 points, and Nasdaq 100futures gained 0.25 point.

The Fed's policy-making Federal Open Market Committee, which began its two-day meeting on Tuesday, was expected to hold the benchmark federal funds rate steady at 5.25 percent.

But investors will focus on its statement on the outlook for the economy, future interest rates and anything it says about the recent turmoil in the subprime mortgage lending market.

The statement is expected at about 2:15 p.m. (1815 GMT).

In deal news, EGL Inc. said that private equity firm Apollo Management L.P. had expressed interest in buying the shipping company for $40 per share, implying a premium of about 4 percent on EGL's Tuesday closing share price.

Britain's Barclays Plc. edged closer to agreement on an $80 billion takeover of Dutch bank ABN AMRO . The two banks outlined a framework proposal after Tuesday's close that would see a combined company listed in London and headquartered in Amsterdam.

U.S. stocks rose Tuesday as a series of takeover deals bolstered investor confidence and offset apprehension about the latest Federal Reserve rate-setting meeting.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 61.93 points, or 0.51 percent, at 12,288.10. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index closed up 8.88 points, or 0.63 percent, at 1,410.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index finished up 13.80 points, or 0.58 percent, at 2,408.21.