Futures eke out gains after Fed holds rates steady

Futures eke out gains after Fed holds rates steady

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve held interest rates steady and struck an optimistic tone on the outlook of the economy.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 21, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

Following three rate cuts this year to preempt a domestic slowdown fueled largely by President Donald Trump’s trade war on China, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said, “Our economic outlook remains a favorable one, despite global developments and ongoing risks”.

The central bank is expected to stand pat on rates this time, with investors focused more on U.S.-China trade relations as it now lies on Trump to decide whether to impose tariffs on nearly $160 billion in Chinese consumer goods on Dec. 15.

The Fed’s move to ease monetary policy this year has supported the rise in stocks to record highs, along with a slightly calmer tone on trade and some relief in corporate earnings. The S&P 500 index .SPX is up 25% so far in 2019.

Investors across the globe braced for a Brexit-defining election in Britain, with exit polls set to begin at 5 p.m. ET (2200 GMT).

Also in focus is European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde who is expected to keep interest rates on hold in her first policy meeting after taking over the role.

At 6:53 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 14 points, or 0.05%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 2.25 points, or 0.07% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 9.5 points, or 0.11%.

Data from the Labor Department is expected to show that producer price index for final demand was up 1.2% last month after rising 1.1% in October. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Among stocks, Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) rose 1.8% in premarket trading after J.P.Morgan raised its rating on the coffee chain to “overweight”.

General Electric (GE.N) climbed 1.7% after UBS upgraded the industrial conglomerate’s shares to “buy”.

Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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