Anticipation about healthy economic data regarding housing and inflation prompted US stock index futures to edge higher in value on Tuesday.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
The slight gains come as the Fed begins convening two days of policy meetings. Yet those advances are tempered by the ongoing conflict in Iraq, for which US involvement might deepen. Just after 10 a.m. in New York, the Nasdaq edged up 0.3%, a gain of 12.77 points to 4,333.76; the S&P 500 moderately rose 0.05%, a climb of 0.92 points to 1,938.82; and the Dow fell 0.02%, a drop of 3.65 points to 16,777.36.
During the past two sessions, the S&P has edged higher yet remains down 0.7% after touching its highest close ever on Monday of last week. That index' performance has been impacted by the strife in Iraq, where government forces and militant Islamic Sunnis are immersed in a deepening power struggle. The feuding is of concern to the White House as President Obama is pondering policy options. Increased US firepower has been dispatched to the region and the US is open to conducting discussions with Iran as to how to address the ongoing strife.
Cost of living pushes up
As Fed policy makers begin two days of meetings on Tuesday, economic data indicated advanced faster than economists projected last month, according to Bloomberg. Consumer price index data climbed 0.4 percent last month, marking its biggest advance since early last year. April gains checked in at 0.3 percent.
Inflation's gains are likely to help economic growth, which is a key factor going into the Fed policy meetings. Amid wide expectations for the Fed to again taper monthly asset purchases by $10 billion for the fifth consecutive policy meeting, consumer price index data and inflation developments are likely to play key roles in the decision-making process.
Policy makers' decision is anticipated for Wednesday afternoon and confidence is high that monthly asset purchases will drop to $35 billion, according to a survey of economists and analysts administered by Bloomberg. But, amid strong expectations regarding the tapering decision, Reuters reports no other significant announcement is likely. Analysts and investors are likely to pay close attention to whether Fed chair Janet Yellen will tip her hand about interest rate policy.
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