Three before you leave — What to watch for in the market Wednesday – CNBC

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds a news conference following a closed two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington, September 18, 2019.

Sarah Silbiger | Reuters

Here are the most important things to know about Wednesday before you hit the door.

1. Fed update

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will release its the minutes from its September meeting on Wednesday. The Fed cut rates last month by 25 basis points for the second time this year, citing “the implications of global developments for the economic outlook” among other factors. 

Market expectations for an October rate cut are 77.5%, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told reporters on Tuesday that the Federal Reserve will soon start growing its balance sheet again, a response in part to trouble in the overnight lending markets in September. This statement helped ease the selling pressure in stocks a bit on Tuesday. More comments suggesting monetary easing in the minutes could support stocks.

2. Trade tensions running high

On Wednesday, investors will be eyeing the aftermath of a slew of worrying trade headlines on Tuesday. Trade tensions weighed on markets ahead of the highly anticipated trade negotiations between the U.S. and China on Thursday.

Stocks sold off after on reports the White House is discussing blocking government pension funds from investing in China and limiting stock index providers from including Chinese stocks. Following this, China said it will retaliate to the U.S. threat to put Chinese tech companies on a blacklist, over alleged human rights violations against Muslim minorities. Later in the day, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday it “strongly urges” the U.S. to stay clear from the country’s domestic issues.

Then the Trump administration followed by putting visa restrictions on Chinese officials who are believed to be responsible for the maltreatment of the minority groups. More of this tit-for-tat talk could cause stock market volatility.

3. Eyeing the labor market

August’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), which measures the level of employment vacancies as well as how many workers left their jobs, will be released on Wednesday at 10 a.m. by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists estimate 7.18 million job vacancies, down from 7.217 million vacancies in July. If estimates are correct this will be the third straight month of declines in job vacancies, indicating the labor market remains strong despite worries about the economy.

The JOLTS data lags other employment indicators, like nonfarm payrolls, by a month but is still watched closely by the White House and the Federal Reserve as an indicator of the health of the labor market. Unemployment hit a fresh 50-year low in September even though nonfarm payrolls rose by just 136,000, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Major events (all times ET):

10 a.m. Wholesale trade

10 a.m. JOLTS

11 a.m. Fed Chair Jerome Powell opening remarks

2 p.m. FOMC minutes