Stock Futures Tumble As Hopes Of Further Stimulus Fade

 @ibtimes
on April 04 2012 7:49 AM

(REUTERS) -- Stock index futures fell on Wednesday after minutes of the Federal Reserve's March meeting released on Tuesday showed policymakers were less inclined to provide more economic stimulus, curbing investors' appetite for risky assets.

Supportive policies by the U.S. central bank have been a primary catalyst for the S&P 500's surge of 30 percent since October, even though improving economic conditions have also played a part in the rally. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 retreated from four-year highs following the release of the Fed meeting minutes. Still, the index is up 12.4 percent for the year.

Economic data will be in the spotlight with the ADP National Employment Report due at 8:15 a.m. EDT. The data will give further clues on the state of the employment market ahead of the Labor Department's non-farm payrolls report on Friday. U.S. ISM non-manufacturing sector data will be released at 10:00 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).

Moody's has downgraded the ratings of conglomerate General Electric Co. and its finance unit General Electric Capital each by a notch, saying there were material risks associated with its funding model.

Oil prices dipped near $123 a barrel on Wednesday on worries demand for crude could be curtailed after the U.S. central bank dashed hopes of further economic stimulus and news Saudi Arabia would likely keep output high in the event of a stock release.

S&P 500 futures fell 13 points and were below 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 lost 91 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 23.25 points.

Justice Holdings, the London-listed investment firm, will pay about $1.4 billion in cash to buy a 29 percent stake in Burger King from its owner private equity group 3G Capital Management LLC, in a move which will see the hamburger chain go public again.

A Brazilian federal prosecutor has launched his second 20 billion real ($10.9 billion) lawsuit against U.S. oil company Chevron and driller Transocean , in relation to an oil leak discovered on March 4 in a field northeast of Rio de Janeiro.

A federal judge has rejected Bank of New York Mellon Corp.'s bid to dismiss a lawsuit by bondholders who invested in 26 trusts alleged to have contained risky mortgage loans from the former Countrywide Financial Corp.

The world's largest online coupon website Groupon Inc. is being sued by a shareholder for misleading investors about its financial results and concealing weak internal controls.

(Reporting By Angela Moon; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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