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US futures post modest gains ahead of Fed meeting kickoff

Key Points
  • A two-day monetary policy meeting by the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee is set to kick off on Tuesday
Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Tuesday, as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) starts a two-day policy meeting.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 53 points, while S&P 500 futures gained 2 points.

In the previous session, U.S. equities closed in the black, bouncing back from earlier weakness seen when news emerged that a terror incident had happened near New York City's Times Square. A low tech device exploded at New York's Port Authority, which injured four people, including the suspect who was taken into custody.

On the data front, the producer price index (PPI) rose 0.4 percent in November. Economists expected an increase of 0.3 percent. In earnings, MongoDB and VeriFone are expected to report after the bell.

Meantime, the FOMC will begin the first day of its two-day monetary policy meeting. The central bankers are expected to deliver a decision on interest rates at the end of the two-day event on Wednesday, where investors expect the Federal Reserve to raise rates for one more time this year.

In October, Fed minutes showed that a rate hike was all but certain during this holiday month, despite the low level of inflation. The Fed could also deliver its own thoughts on the state of the tax bill during the meeting.

Elsewhere, a handful of European finance ministers called upon U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for the U.S. to reconsider the current proposals surrounding the tax overhaul, according to a letter seen by Reuters. Ministers argued that elements of the reform could negatively impact international trade and the financial sector.

Overseas, European stocks ticked higher, while markets in Asia finished mostly lower.