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U.S. futures edge higher ahead of Fed statement; Dow Jones up 0.10%

Stock MarketsDec 12, 2012 06:53AM ET
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Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday, as investors eyed the Federal Reserve's policy statement later in the day, amid growing expectations for further easing measures to bolster growth.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.10% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.07% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.18% increase.

The U.S. central bank was expected to announce new easing steps to replace its Operation Twist program, which expires this month following its policy setting meeting later Wednesday.

Meanwhile, investors remained cautious as they awaited fresh developments in negotiations to avoid the U.S. fiscal cliff amid concerns that the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts due to take effect in early 2013 could derail the U.S. recovery.

Retailers were expected to be active, after India's government announced an inquiry into lobbying practices by Wal-Mart Stores following reports the company had pushed U.S. lawmakers to help gain access to foreign markets.

Separately, Costco Wholesale dropped 0.66% in pre-market trade, although the group posted a 30% rise in quarterly profit, beating expectations, boosted by rising sales and higher membership fees.

Elsewhere, Sprint Nextel was likely to trend higher as shares rose 0.36% in after hour trade amid reports it is in talks with Intel and Comcast to buy out their stakes in the U.S. wireless provider Clearwire.

In the energy sector, Chesapeake Energy agreed on Tuesday to sell most of its remaining natural gas processing and gathering assets for USD2.16 billion, sending shares up 1.35% in late trading.

Financial stocks were also slated to be in the spotlight, after Bloomberg reported that JPMorgan was pressed by U.S. regulators to strengthen investor disclosures on proprietary trading almost a year before a wrong-way bet on credit derivatives cost the bank at least USD6.2 billion.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed. The EURO STOXX 50 dipped 0.04%, France’s CAC 40 fell 0.17%, Germany's DAX rose 0.24%, while Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.20%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed 0.80%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index advanced 0.59%.

Later in the day, the Federal Reserve was to announce the federal funds rate, which was to be accompanied by the bank’s rate statement and followed by a press conference with Chairman Ben Bernanke to discuss the rate decision and the economic outlook.

The U.S. was also to release official data on import prices and crude oil inventories.


U.S. futures edge higher ahead of Fed statement; Dow Jones up 0.10%
 

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