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Wall Street on tenterhooks ahead of Fed meeting

Fed meeting looms as new week opens

Wall Street looked set to open higher on Monday, as markets await news from this week's U.S. Federal Reserve's meeting.

The Fed is expected to signal in its policy statement on Wednesday that an interest rate hike is close by dropping its regular phrase that states that the central bank can be "patient" before beginning to normalize monetary policy.

"The recent strength of the U.S. labor market is increasing pressure on the Fed to begin raising rates gradually from around the middle of this year, most likely in either June or September, when the Fed is reasonably comfortable as well that inflation will return back to 2 percent in the medium-term," said Lee Hardman of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi in a research note on Monday.

"Fed Chair Yellen has clearly highlighted that removing "patient" will not necessarily signal that a rate hike will come as soon as June, although the risk of a rate hike in the near-term will increase," he added.

Monday will be a quiet day for earnings and data. The Empire State Index posted 6.90 for March, below February's 7.78.

rose 0.1 percent in February, below expectations, with capacity utilization slightly lower at 78.9 percent.

Crude oil dipped below $44 a barrel to its lowest level in six years, while Brent fell below $54 a barrel.

Sotheby'sMSG Chief Executive Officer Tad Smith has left that job to take the CEO job at Sotheby's. He'll be replaced on an interim basis at MSG by James Dolan, the president and CEO of MSG parent Cablevision and the Executive Chairman of MSG.

Microsoft—UBS cut earnings estimates for Microsoft, citing weaker than expected PC demand, ongoing mobile challenges, and the impact of foreign currency.

Scripps Network Interactive—The media group struck a deal to buy a majority stake in Polish broadcaster TVN for $615 million.

Hewlett-Packard—A judge gave preliminary approval to the settlement of a lawsuit by Hewlett-Packard shareholders over its ill-fated acquisition of British software firm Autonomy. HP bought Autonomy for more than $11 billion in 2011, but then had to take an $8.8 billion write-off a year later.

Netflix—Netflix was downgraded to "sell" from "hold" at Evercore, pointing to an intensely competitive environment for the video streaming service.

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BP—BP will invest $12 billion in Egypt in a project that will produce the equivalent of three billion barrels of oil.

CNBC's Peter Schacknow contributed to this report.