Fed Stimulus Hopes Buoy US Stock Futures

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange November 14, 2011.

The U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open Tuesday as investor sentiment turned positive amid hopes that the Federal Reserve would announce monetary easing measures this week to revive economic growth momentum.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.22 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index were up 0.28 percent and futures on the Nasdaq 100 index were up 0.34 percent.

Investors are expected to focus on the Bureau of Economic Analysis' trade deficit report to be released Tuesday. The trade deficit, which measures the difference in value between imported and exported goods and services over the reported period, is expected to rise to $44 billion in July from $42.9 billion in June.

On Monday the U.S. markets fell as investors stayed watchful awaiting the Fed's announcement of stimulus measures to boost economic growth. The weak jobs report presented last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to put additional pressure on the Fed to announce another round of quantitative easing measures in September.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.39 percent, the S&P 500 Index was down 0.61 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 1.03 percent.

Most of the European indices were in red Tuesday as investor confidence was weighed down by increasing concerns of the debt crisis affecting the euro zone. The "Outright Monetary Transactions" (OMT) program outlined by the European Central Bank (ECB) is primarily designed to help the larger euro zone economies, such as Spain and Italy. But the market players do have worries about other economies, especially Greece. Investors are focusing on the meeting between Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and ECB President Mario Draghi Tuesday in Frankfurt. London’s FTSE 100 was down 7.58 points, Germany's DAX 30 Index fell 4.30 points and France's CAC 40 dropped 5.05 points.

Most Asian markets fell Tuesday due to fading optimism that had been initially raised by the ECB's announcement of the bond-buying plan last week. The debt crisis in the euro zone has adversely affected economic growth in major Asian economies especially with less than expected rise in exports.

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