Fed in focus; Earnings ramp up; Panera cooks up a deal

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1. Fed in focus: The Federal Reserve is scheduled to release the minutes from its latest meeting at 2 p.m. ET.

The minutes should give clues about what it will take for the Fed to push interest rates higher after it raised them in March. There should also be details about risks the Fed sees on the horizon.

On Tuesday, the U.S. central bank found itself in hot water after the long-serving president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond -- Jeffrey Lacker -- resigned abruptly after admitting he shared confidential information with a financial firm in the fall of 2012. He's since been questioned by several law enforcement agencies.

2. Earnings: Monsanto (MON) and Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) are releasing earnings before the open Wednesday, while Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) is set to release earnings after the close.

Other big companies are slated to begin releasing their results in the middle of April, and there are high hopes for this earnings season.

According to estimates from FactSet, companies in the S&P 500 are forecast to report an average earnings increase of 9% from a year ago.

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3. Global stock market overview: Stock markets are pretty calm right now.

U.S. stock futures are holding around the levels where they closed on Tuesday.

European markets are mixed in afternoon trading.

Shares in Swiss firm Syngenta (SYT) are also pushing up by about 1.5% after Europe's top regulator gave the green light for ChemChina to buy the seed and pesticide giant. The $43 billion deal is the biggest foreign takeover by a Chinese company.

Most Asian markets pushed up during the day. Chinese stocks did particularly well, with the Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen index rising by 1.5% and 1.9%, respectively.

Chinese construction firms surged on Wednesday after the government announced major plans for an urban development zone southwest of Beijing.

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4. Delicious deal: Shares in Panera Bread (PNRA) are set to rally at the open after it announced it was being sold for $7.5 billion to JAB, the company that owns a major stake in Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Keurig Green Mountain.

Panera is one of the leading companies in the so-called fast casual dining industry.

5. Coming this week:

Wednesday - Earnings from Monsanto (MON), Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) and Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY); World Economic Forum on Latin America begins in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Thursday - Chinese President Xi Jinping visits President Trump at his Mar-a-Lago golf club.

Friday - U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases monthly jobs report for March.

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