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US STOCKS-Futures little changed ahead of Fed decision
December 14, 2016 / 12:35 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures little changed ahead of Fed decision

* Futures: Dow down 5 pts, S&P unchanged, Nasdaq up 2.25 pts

By Tanya Agrawal

Dec 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday, as investors refrained from making large bets ahead of the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting where the central bank is widely expected to raise interest rates.

* The Fed is widely tipped to lift rates 25 basis points to 0.50-0.75 percent. The rate announcement is due at 2 p.m. ET (1900 GMT), followed by Chair Janet Yellen’s news conference 30 minutes later.

* Market participants will be paying close attention to Yellen’s tone and new forecasts, seeking clues on policymakers’ thinking on how President-elect Donald Trump’s policies will impact growth and inflation.

* However, concerns over a strengthening dollar continue with the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, hitting 14-year peaks last month.

* “It would seem the promise of government spending in the coming years has made investors less anxious about the prospect of interest rate increases, although, as always, it’s a matter of pace more so than the actual act of tightening which is what makes the press conference so important today,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at online forex broker Oanda.

* U.S. stocks racked up new all-time highs on Tuesday and the Dow Jones industrial average ended fewer than 100 points away from the 20,000 mark as a post-election rally showed no signs of fatigue.

* The Dow has climbed about 9 percent since the Nov. 8 election, with gains fueled by expectations that Trump will reduce taxes and regulation and stimulate the economy.

* Economic data scheduled to be released on Wednesday includes U.S. retail sales for November at 8:30 a.m. ET, which are expected to have risen for a third straight month.

* Other data due for release includes November’s producer price index, which is expected to have edged up 0.1 percent after staying flat in October.

* Shares of Nordson were up 8.5 percent at $113.50 in premarket trading, a day after the industrial materials maker’s fourth-quarter results beat expectations.

* Tech giants Apple, Amazon, Alphabet , Microsoft, and Facebook were up between 0.2 and 0.5 percent. Top executives at these companies were scheduled to meet with Trump at his New York headquarters.

Futures snapshot at 7:03 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were down 5 points, or 0.03 percent, with 4,130 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis remained unchanged, with 85,634 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 2.25 points, or 0.05 percent, on volume of 4,879 contracts. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal)

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