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US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher, Fed meeting in focus
December 13, 2016 / 2:03 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher, Fed meeting in focus

* Dow about 1 pct away from hitting 20,000 mark

* Fed begins two-day meeting; statement on Wednesday

* Boeing rises after increasing dividend

* Futures up: Dow 73 pts, S&P 7.25 pts, Nasdaq 19.5 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Tanya Agrawal

Dec 13 (Reuters) - Wall Street looked set to open higher on Tuesday, as investors keep a close watch of the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting where it is widely expected to raise interest rates for the second time since the financial crisis.

A hike of 25 basis points in the Fed’s target range of 0.25-0.50 percent is priced in, but investors will be examining the Fed’s statement and economic forecasts for signs of the central bank’s thinking on how Donald Trump’s election has affected the outlook for growth and inflation.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite fell on Monday after six sessions of gains, weighed by tech sector stocks, while the Dow closed at yet another record high.

The Dow is about 1 percent away from hitting the 20,000 mark for the first time ever. The blue-chip index has closed at a record high for 15 days since the U.S. election.

President-elect Donald Trump’s expected agenda of economic stimulus and reduced taxes and regulations has fueled a market rally, with the S&P 500 rising 5.5 percent since Nov. 8 to Monday’s close.

“This market is still in the ”Trump-trade“ mode where it is anticipating a growth in the economy and the GDP and expects the incoming administration’s policies to benefit the labor market,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

Dow e-minis were up 73 points, or 0.37 percent, with 6,880 contracts changing hands at 8:38 a.m. ET (1338 GMT). S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.25 points, or 0.32 percent, with 176,156 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 19.5 points, or 0.4 percent, on volume of 6,637 contracts.

U.S. import prices recorded their biggest drop in nine months in November on declining petroleum costs, with renewed dollar strength threatening to keep imported inflation subdued.

The Labor Department said import prices fell 0.3 percent last month after a downwardly revised 0.4 percent gain in October.

Oil prices were stable on Tuesday, supported by strong demand in Asia and a supply cut by Abu Dhabi as part of production curbs organized by OPEC and other exporters. Oil prices had hit an 18-month high on Monday on the back of a production cut pact.

Boeing was up 1.5 percent at $159.48 in premarket trading, a day after the aircraft maker raised its dividend and authorized a $14 billion share repurchase.

VeriFone Systems fell 4.2 percent to $15.76 after the payment card machine maker’s full-year profit forecast fell short of analysts’ expectations and a host of brokerages cut their price targets.

Inovalon Holdings slumped 38 percent to $9.20. The healthcare data analytics company’s fourth-quarter revenue forecast came in below expectations. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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