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U.S. futures rise ahead of Fed meeting; Dow Jones up 0.39%

Posted: 12/16/2013 6:44:00 AM
Referenced Stocks: - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Monday, as markets turned to the Federal Reserve's upcoming policy setting meeting, scheduled later in the week.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.39% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 44% increase, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.42% gain.

Investors were eyeing the outcome of the Fed's upcoming policy meeting on Wednesday, with some expecting the bank to announce a small reduction in the pace of its USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program.

Recent signs of improvement in the labor market and last week's agreement on a two-year U.S. budget deal were seen as removing obstacles to the winding back of monetary stimulus.

But with the inflation outlook remaining subdued the Fed may prefer to hold off on tapering stimulus measures until it sees more indications that the recovery is self-sustaining.

Elsewhere, data showed that the preliminary reading of China's HSBC manufacturing index ticked down to a three-month low of 50.5 in December from a final reading of 50.8 in November. Economists had expected the index to rise to 51.0.

Insurers were likely to be in focus, amid reports American International Group is nearing a deal to sell its plane-leasing unit to AerCap Holdings for cash and stock.

The telecom sector was also expected to be active, after the Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint is looking at a possible bid for is rival, T-Mobile US. The deal could be worth USD20 billion and a merger of the third and fourth largest U.S. carriers would create a huge competitor to industry leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

In related news, Verizon Communications was reportedly near an agreement to purchase Intel's Internet-based pay-TV startup. Verizon shares rose 0.33% in pre-market trade.

Elsewhere, Visa and MasterCard won approval for a USD5.7 billion settlement that ended years of litigation with U.S. merchants over allegations that credit-card swipe fees are improperly fixed.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 jumped 1.26%, France's CAC 40 advanced 0.79%, Germany's DAX rallied 1.34%, while Britain's FTSE 100 climbed 0.51%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index retreated 0.56%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index plummeted 1.62%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release reports on industrial production, manufacturing activity in the New York region and the balance of foreign and domestic investment in U.S. securities. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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