U.S. Futures Inch Up With Yellen Conference In Focus

Source: thewillnigeria.com

U.S. stock index futures inched up on Wednesday but investors remained cautious ahead of a Federal Reserve statement that could provide hints on the timing of a rate hike.

* Investors will scour the statement after a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting for any signs of when the Fed is likely to begin raising interest rates and the pace of any subsequent hikes.

* The Fed statement is due at 2:00 p.m. ET, followed by Chair Janet Yellen’s news conference half an hour later, with analysts expecting her to focus on signs the economy is recovering after a bumpy start to the year.

* U.S. stocks closed higher on Tuesday following back-to-back daily declines, with merger activity offsetting market concerns as Greece struggles to avoid a default on its debt.

* Relations between Greece and its creditors have become increasingly acrimonious in recent days, leaving little hope that a meeting of EU finance ministers on Thursday will make any progress.

* Athens needs fresh funds to avoid defaulting on a 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund on June 30, which could drive it toward the euro zone exit.

* Synergy Pharmaceuticals (SGYP.O) shares soared 45.5 percent to $6.81 in premarket trading after the company’s late-stage study of constipation treatment meet the main goal.

* Qihoo 360 Technology (QIHU.N) jumped 12.5 percent to $74.31 after the mobile antivirus software maker said a Chinese consortium had offered to buy the company for $77 per American depositary share.

Futures snapshot at 7:18 a.m. ET:
* S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 3.5 points, or 0.17 percent, with 91,356 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 3.25 points, or 0.07 percent, on volume of 4,724 contracts.

* Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 36 points, or 0.2 percent, with 2,696 contracts changing hands.