Futures rise ahead of CPI, Fed statement

 @ibtimes on December 16 2009 7:32 AM

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.

* S&P 500 futures rose 5.7 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 are 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 in a deal to allow the big bank to repay a taxpayer bailout, The Washington Post reported.

* The latest initial public offering backed by private equity firm Blackstone Group LP priced below expectations on Tuesday and sold fewer shares than anticipated, according to an underwriter.

* Design software maker Adobe Systems Inc reported quarterly profit that topped expectations, saying demand for its products picked up during November.

* Chipmaker Broadcom Corp raised its revenue outlook for the current quarter on Tuesday, citing better-than-expected demand in the broadband and enterprise networking segment.

* 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 issued a flat outlook for 2010.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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