U.S. stocks index futures rose on Wednesday as investors bet the Federal Reserve would indicate more of the same easy monetary policy and anticipated more forecast-beating earnings.
In Tuesday's session, strong earnings lifted Wall Street to its highest level since crashing to a bear market low more than two years ago. The S&P 500 reached its highest in nearly 3 years, breaking through a level where it had faced significant resistance.
Oliver Pursche, president at Gary Goldberg Financial Services in Suffern, New York, said investors were coming to the view that the Fed would maintain ultra low interest rates at least until the end of the year and probably beyond.
Equities continue to be very attractive on a relative basis, he said. At the end of the day we do not expect interest rate policy to change.
First-quarter earnings have been strong, but investors will parse reports of major companies looking for signs that surging commodity prices may have an impact on costs later in the year. Major companies reporting results include Boeing
S&P 500 futures added 4.4 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 rose 15.52 points.
The Federal Open Market Committee will release a statement on interest rate policy at 12:30 p.m. In a Reuters poll, dealers expect the fed funds rate will remain in the 0.0 percent to 0.25 percent range. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold media briefing at 2:15 p.m.
Bernanke will likely use his first-ever news conference on monetary policy to hammer home the case for a patient approach to withdrawing the central bank's extensive support for the U.S. economy.
Johnson & Johnson
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago releases at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT) its Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index for March. The index was 83.3 in the prior month.
Tokyo stocks <.N225> gained 1.4 percent after a batch of Japanese and U.S. corporate earnings came in better than expected. The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares rose 0.5 percent.
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)