* Consumer inflation posts largest decline in six years
* FedEx shares fall after earnings
* Futures up: Dow 64 pts, S&P 10 pts, Nasdaq 17 pts (Updates prices, adds data, comment)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Dec 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to rise at the open on Wednesday, following three days of losses for major Wall Street indexes, ahead of the year’s final statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve that may set the stage for interest rate hikes in 2015.
A strengthening U.S. economy is expected to trump global economic worries and the Fed is likely to signal it is still on track to raise rates.
U.S. consumer prices recorded their biggest drop in nearly six years in November as gasoline prices tumbled, but this probably will do little to change views the Fed will start raising interest rates in mid-2015.
“I do think they will take in consideration slow global economic activity and perhaps mention the threat of deflation in Europe,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
“If there isn’t a change in language, that would be the surprise,” he said, adding that as the U.S. economy continues to strengthen and lower oil prices give a boost to the consumer “the year-end rally in stocks will resume.”
The Fed’s statement is due at 2:00 p.m. (1900 GMT) and will be followed by a news conference by Chair Janet Yellen half an hour later.
S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 10 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a higher open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 64 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 17 points.
Shares of medical device maker Volcano Corp jumped 55.3 percent after Philips agreed to buy it for $1.2 billion including debt.
FedEx shares fell 4.7 percent in premarket trading after the package delivery company reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit.
Joy Global could be under pressure after the mining equipment maker, which gets more than 60 percent of its revenue from coal miners, reported a 4 percent fall in quarterly revenue as customers cut production. Shares fell 1.7 percent in light premarket trading.
Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama