Futures Rise Ahead of Fed Announcement


U.S. stock index futures signaled a higher open on Wall Street as investors await the Federal Reserve's policy announcement this afternoon for hints of additional stimulus measures to spur growth.  

The Bank of England and the European Central Bank will announce interest rate and monetary policy decisions on Thursday.

After the S&P 500 rallied late last week on hopes the Federal Reserve and ECB will do more to stimulate growth, the index stalled over the past two sessions, shedding 0.43 percent yesterday, as investors await the policy announcements.

are trading higher helped by some positive earnings announcements and hopes of stimulatory policy from the ECB and Bank of England.

In economic news, Automatic Data Processing said increased by 163,000. The government's July jobs report is due out on Friday.

The said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, rose 0.2 percent in the week ended July 27.

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index is due out at 10 a.m. The index tracks monthly changes in the service sector economy. Economists polled by Briefing.com predict the index rose in July to 50.1, up from 49.7 in June. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in the sector.

U.S. construction spending data for June will also be released at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Economists polled by Briefing.com forecast spending rose by 0.5 percent in June, against a 0.9 percent rise in May.

Crude oil inventories for last week will be released by the Energy Department at 10:30. Inventories rose by 2.7 million in the prior week. Also out at 10:30 a.m. is the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly petroleum status report.

Fed Meeting Decision Day: Predictions Mixed

Chrysler Group reported that July U.S. auto sales increased 13 percent, the best July sales in five years.

Out of China, the country's official purchasing managers' index slid to an eight-month low of 50.1 in July from 50.2 in June, suggesting the manufacturing sector is barely growing. A rival HSBC survey indicated the more market-sensitive private sector is starting to recover.

Turning to earnings news, Comcast posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday as it benefited from customer additions for its Internet and phone services. Revenue rose 6 percent to $15.2 billion. Comcast is the majority owner of NBC Universal, the parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.

Time Warner reported lower net income on declines in its film, TV entertainment and publishing units. Revenue at the media giant fell 4 percent.

Mastercard posted better than expected second-quarter earnings but revenues came in weaker than anticipated.

Revenue rose 14.6 percent at motorcycle maker Harley Davidson , but that was lighter than expected.

Second-quarter earnings at Avon plunged 70 percent on a 9 percent fall in revenue.

Nokia shares surged in heavy volumes, with traders and analysts citing talk that Chinese PC maker Lenovo may be interested in the struggling Finnish cellphone maker.

Coming Up This Week:

WEDNESDAY: PMI manufacturing report, ISM mfg index, construction spending, oil inventories, auto sales, FOMC mtg announcement; Earnings from Dollar Thrifty, Marathon Oil,  Green Mountain Coffee, Hartford Financial, MetLife, Prudential Financial, Yelp

THURSDAY: Jobless claims, factory orders, chain-store sales; Earnings from GM, Sony, Clorox, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Time Warner Cable, AIG, Kraft, Activision Blizzard, LinkedIn, Sunoco, Opentable, Zipcar

FRIDAY: Employment situation, ISM non-mfg index; Earnings from P&G, Toyota, Beazer Homes, NYSE Euronext, Berkshire Hathaway

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