The question on every investor and trader's mind will be answered today: Will the Federal Reserve raise interest rates? U.S. futures were rising ahead of today's decision, which will come at 2 p.m. EDT, followed by a press conference from Fed Chair Janet Yellen at 2:30 p.m. Many think it unlikely that the Fed will raise rates now. But perhaps the Fed is capable of a surprise.
Meanwhile, the sticker-shock over Mylan's (MYL) EpiPen goes to Washington. Shares of the drug maker were lower before CEO Heather Bresch goes in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Bresch is expected to defend the cost for the life-saving EpiPen. In prepared testimony released by the committee ahead of her appearance, Bresch says: "Price and access exist in a balance, and we believe we have struck that balance." Still, she adds that she wishes the company had "better anticipated the magnitude and acceleration" of the rising prices for some families. The price of the EpiPen soared to $600 for a two-pack in August, which represents an increase of more than 500% since 2007.
Exxon Mobil (XOM) is being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and despite this news shares are up in early trading. The SEC is looking into how Exxon values its assets in a world of increasing climate change regulations, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The probe will focus on how the company calculates the impact to its business due to climate change, including what figures Exxon uses to account for the future costs of complying with regulations to curb greenhouse gases, the Journal reported. The SEC will also be investigating Exxon's longstanding practice of not writing down the value of its oil and gas reserves when prices fall, sources told the Journal.
In better news, Microsoft (MSFT) is making its investors happy this morning. The tech giant said it would raise its dividend 8% to $0.39 per share. The board also approved a share buyback program of up to $40 billion. The company said the buyback program has no expiration date and may be terminated at any time. Microsoft said it is on track to complete its existing $40 billion share repurchase program by year-end.
Cheerios maker General Mills (GIS) shares were rising before the bell after posting better-than-expected earnings for the 2017 fiscal first quarter. The food manufacturer reported earnings of $0.78 per share, which topped Wall Street' s estimates by $0.03. Revenue of $3.91 billion fell 7% year-over-year, but was in-line with analysts' predictions. General Mills also reiterated its 2017 targets for earnings growth in the range of 6% to 8% year-over-year.
Finally, Clovis Oncology (CLVS) shares were up 10% before the opening bell after analysts with Credit Suisse boosted the stock's rating to Outperform from Neutral in a Wednesday report. Credit Suisse also hiked the firm's price target to $41 from $19, citing the potential for the Boulder, Colo.-based drug maker to receive a takeover offer given the potential market demand for its anti-cancer treatment Rucaparib.