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Futures muted, Fed minutes ahead - what's moving markets -- U.S. stock futures hovered mostly around the flatline on Wednesday, as investors awaited the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting and fresh labor market data. The main indices climbed in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P 500 in particular closing above 5,500 points for the first time ever. Elsewhere, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is reportedly set to take an observer role on the board of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI.

1. Futures muted

U.S. stock futures were muted on Wednesday after the main averages on Wall Street climbed in the prior session.

By 03:29 ET (07:29 GMT), the S&P 500 futures contract was trading down by 3 points or 0.1%. Nasdaq 100 futures and Dow futures were mostly unchanged.

On Tuesday, the benchmark S&P 500 closed above 5,500 points for the first time ever, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced by 0.8% to finish higher than 18,000 points for the first time.

Megacap growth names like Apple and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) helped underpin the gains. Electric carmaker Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) also jumped after it unveiled better-than-expected second-quarter deliveries.

Sentiment was aided as well by data showing that job openings in the U.S. increased in May following declines in the previous two months, although layoffs rose. Along with a report on private payrolls on Wednesday, more figures due out this week may provide a deeper glimpse into the state of labor market in the world's largest economy.

2. Fed minutes ahead

The Federal Reserve is set to release on Wednesday the minutes from its monetary policy meeting in June, when the central bank left interest rates unchanged at a more than two-decade high range and signaled that it expects to cut borrowing costs just once this year.

In March, the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee had indicated that it projected as many as three reductions in 2024.

However, recent data pointing to moderating but sticky inflation have led several officials to call for more evidence that price growth is sustainably cooling down to the Fed's 2% target before rolling out rate cuts.

Speaking at an European Central Bank event on Tuesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell predicted that inflation will return to 2% by late 2025 or the following year, but said policymakers will "take their time" before slashing rates.

Despite the comments, markets are widely betting that the Fed will unveil two cuts before the end of the year, with the first estimated to come in September, according to CME Group's (NASDAQ:CME) closely-monitored FedWatch Tool.

3. Apple to take observer role on OpenAI board - reports

Apple is set to take an observer role on the board of ChatGPT-maker and artificial intelligence-darling OpenAI, media reports have said.

Citing people familiar with the situation, media outlets reported that Phil Schiller, the head of Apple's App store, was selected for the position. Schiller will be able to attend OpenAI's meetings but will not be able to vote on board decisions, the reports added.

With the observer role, Apple will attain similar insight into OpenAI's inner workings as peer Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). The software group is currently OpenAI's largest investor, having plugged roughly $13 billion into the company.

Last month, Apple announced that it plans to fold the ChatGPT chatbot into its offerings as part of a broader push by the iPhone giant to enhance its artificial intelligence capabilities.

4. Skydance reaches deal to take controlling stake in Paramount - Reuters

Shari Redstone's National Amusements has agreed to a preliminary deal to sell a controlling stake in Paramount Global (NASDAQ:PARA) to David Ellison's Skydance Media, according to Reuters.

The news agency, citing people familiar with the matter, said Skydance would pay $1.75 billion for National Amusements, the movie theater chain and holder of the Redstone family's 77% interest in Paramount.

Under the terms of the plan, Paramount, the century-old movie studio behind hit films like "Titanic" and "The Godfather" and owner of cable networks like Nickelodeon and MTV, would merge with its smaller counterpart Skydance.

Paramount's class B shares surged in extended hours trading following the news, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

5. Crude rises on U.S. stockpile draw

Crude prices rose Wednesday, boosted by industry data showing a bigger-than-expected draw in U.S. crude inventories.

By 03:30 ET, the U.S. crude futures (WTI) traded 0.4% higher at $83.16 per barrel, while the Brent contract added 0.5% to $86.69 a barrel.

Both benchmarks had fallen back from their highest levels since the end of April during the previous session on fading concerns that Hurricane Beryl would disrupt production in the Gulf of Mexico.

The industry body American Petroleum Institute released data on Tuesday showing that U.S. crude oil inventories fell by just over 9 million barrels in the week ended June 28, much more than expected.

The Energy Information Administration is due to release the official weekly data later in the session.

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