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Futures Hold Modest Gains After Economic Reports

Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 | 8:36 AM ET

U.S. stock index futures held their gains Tuesday, following the housing starts and consumer price index data and ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting.

The two-day Fed meeting is scheduled to start later today with a press briefing from Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday. Investors around the globe will listen with acute interest for details on when the Fed may start scaling back its $85 billion monthly bond purchases.

(Read More: Fed Meets as Faith in Its Bond Program Wanes)

The Fed is also expected to provide an update on its economic projections for 2013-2015. The Fed's latest projections, made in March this year, saw real GDP growth at around 2.6 percent in 2013 and 3.2 percent in 2014. In terms of unemployment, the Fed projected a rate of around 7.4 percent in 2013, improving to around 6.9 percent in 2014.

U.S. stocks took a knock on Monday afternoon when the Financial Times reported that Bernanke is likely to signal the central bank is "close to tapering down" its $85 billion-a-month asset purchases. Stocks eventually recovered from lows when traders noted the article did not contain much new information.

On the economic front, housing starts rose 6.8 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000 units, according to the Commerce Department, missing expectations for a 950,000-unit rate.

Meanwhile, consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent in May, according to the Labor Department. Consumer prices outside of food and energy rose 0.2 percent last month, just above the pace clocked in April.

Meanwhile, Sony rallied after U.S. hedge fund Third Point raised its stake in the Japanese electronics giant to 70 million shares. Third Point CEO Daniel Loeb also urged Sony to spin-off its entertainment division, and offered to sit on Sony's Board of Directors.

(Read More: Third Point Lifts Sony Stake, Urges Spin Off)

Adobe Systems and La-Z-Boy are among companies slated to post earnings after the closing bell.

Outside of the U.S., the G-8 summit will wrap up in Northern Ireland. Talks continue between the European Union and the U.S. regarding the creation of the world's largest free-trade zone, despite France's determination to protect and exclude its cultural industries from the deal.

(Read More: EU, US Launch Trade Talks, France Stiff-Necked)

—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)

Coming Up This Week:

TUESDAY: FOMC mtg begins; Earnings from Adobe Systems, La-Z-Boy
WEDNESDAY: MBA mortgage applications, oil inventories, FOMC mtg announcement & forecasts, Bernanke press conference; Earnings from FedEx, Jabil Circuit, Red Hat
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, PMI manufacturing index, existing home sales, Philadelphia Fed survey, leading indicators, natural gas inventories, Fed balance sheet/money supply, Eurogroup finance ministers meet, Best Buy shareholder mtg; Earnings from Kroger, Rite Aid, Oracle
FRIDAY: Quadruple witching; Earnings from CarMax

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