U.S. stock index futures rose on Wednesday ahead of a statement from the Federal Reserve that will be scrutinized for clues on the state of the world's largest economy.
The Federal Open Market Committee will end a two-day policy-setting meeting later Wednesday that is likely to show central bank officials are more upbeat about the economy, but not enough to tighten loose borrowing costs that have encouraged risk-taking, economists say.
I don't think the Fed will change its rhetoric whatsoever, said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in Boston. We're going to end the year the way we started, with an accommodative Fed. Sometime in 2010, they may start changing the language, but that's not going to happen today.
The U.S. dollar <.DXY> slipped against a basket of currencies, while crude futures rose nearly 1 percent for a second straight session after nine days of losses.
We're seeing weakness in the dollar and strength in the commodities market, and that is usually supportive of this marketplace, Hogan said.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.3 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 42 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 11 points.
Investors also braced for data on U.S. consumer prices, due at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT), a day after the government said U.S. producer prices jumped a surprising 1.8 percent last month and industrial output rose firmly, sparking inflation jitters in financial markets.
Consumer prices are expected to have risen in November, following a surge in energy costs, but underlying inflationary pressures are expected to be muted due to weak labor and rental markets.
Data on building permits, housing starts and weekly earnings is also due at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT).
The banking sector will be in focus after sources said global regulators will give banks a grace period before forcing them to implement stricter capital rules, easing concerns that lenders might need to issue massive amounts of shares in the near future.
The U.S. government agreed not to collect billions of dollars in potential taxes from Citigroup Inc
JPMorgan raised General Electric Co's
The latest initial public offering backed by private equity firm Blackstone Group LP
Design software maker Adobe Systems Inc
Chipmaker Broadcom Corp
U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 moving off 14-month highs on inflation concerns and after economic bellwether General Electric Co
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)