US futures modestly higher as investors eye Fed

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US futures were modestly higher on Wednesday as oil prices rebounded and investors awaited the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision.

S&P 500 futures were up 0.2 per cent to 2,368.75, Dow futures were up 0.2 per cent to 20,844 and Nasdaq futures were up by the same margin to 5,396.75.

The modest bump comes as oil prices appear poised to snap their longest losing streak since November. The US crude marker was up 2 per cent to $48.66 a barrel, while Brent, the global benchmark, rose 1.7 per cent to $51.77 a barrel.

The Fed is widely expected to lift interest rates for the third time since the financial crisis when its delivers its statement at 2pm ET. While, the central bank offers updates to its economic projections including GDP, the personal consumption expenditures index – its preferred measure of inflation, investors will be watching the so-called dot plot and chair Janet Yellen’s press conference for clues on the pace of rate tightening going forward. Any updates on the possibility of reducing the Fed’s $4.5tn balance sheet are also likely to be on investors’ agenda.

It is also a busy morning on the economic data front with markets awaiting updates on consumer prices, retail sales, homebuilder confidence and business inventories.

In Europe, the results of the Dutch election and its implications on the strength of populist movements elsewhere in Europe.

Elsewhere, US Treasuries rallied, with the yield on the US 10-year note, which moves inversely to price, down 1.8 basis points to 2.582 per cent. Meanwhile, gold prices were up 0.2 per cent to $1,200.74 a troy ounce.

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