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Stock Futures Waver as Investors Go On Bernanke-Watch

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were wavering Wednesday as investors await the conclusion of the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting and possible signals about the direction of the central bank's bond-buying stimulus program.

Futures for the S&P 500 were falling 1.25 points, or 0.96 points below fair value, to 1,644.

A Birinyi Associates report showed that the S&P 500 is lower 62% of the time for an average loss of 39 basis points the day after a Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Meantime, the market rises on FOMC days 62% of the time for an average gain of 0.37%, according to the report.

The FOMC meeting is expected to issue its latest economic projections at 2 p.m. New York time followed by a news conference with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at 2:30 p.m.

According to economists polled by Bloomberg, the consensus expectation is that the Fed will continue purchasing $85 billion of securities each month. However, the median estimate indicates an expectation that tapering could begin at the Oct. 29-30 meeting with buying being cut to $65 billion a month.

A departure from the Fed Funds rate range of 0 to 25 basis points is not expected by the economists polled by Bloomberg. The last time rates were adjusted was on Dec. 16, 2008, when the central bank lowered the benchmark interest rate to near-zero levels.

Sprint (S) shares were down 3.14% to $7.09. Dish Network (DISH), the satellite TV operator, said Tuesday it wouldn't submit a revised bid for Sprint, clearing the way for Sprint to be acquired by Japan's Softbank. Sprint had given Dish until Tuesday to submit a sweetened bid for the No. 3 wireless carrier in the U.S.

FedEx (FDX - Get Report) was slipping 0.73% to $98.75 after the shipping giant's CEO Fred Smith expressed continued concerns about global economic growth after reporting quarterly revenue that matched estimates and earnings per share that topped expectations.

Vanda Pharmaceuticals (VNDA - Get Report) was plummeting 13.92% to $9.40 even after telling earlier this week a compelling story about the development of tasimelteon for the treatment of a rare sleep-pattern disorder that affects blind people as investors remain skeptical for a number of reasons, including that the design of Vanda's primary phase III study changed numerous times, including a complete replacement of the primary endpoint just one month before study results were announced.

Software maker Adobe Systems (ADBE - Get Report) was gaining more than 6.5% to $46.26 in premarket trading. The company said fiscal second-quarter profit fell to $76.6 million, or 15 cents a share, from $233.9 million, or 45 cents a share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings in the quarter were 36 cents a share.

Revenue fell 10% to $1.01 billion. Wall Street expected Adobe to post earnings of 33 cents a share on revenue of $1.01 billion. Adobe said revenue from subscriptions jumped 60% in March through May from a year earlier, to $254.5 million.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 9 points, or 5.23 points below fair value, to 15,235. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 2.5 points, or 1.56 points above fair value, to 2,991.

The FTSE 100 in the U.K. was rising 0.06% while the DAX in Germany was gaining 0.6%. The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed up 1.83% while the Hong Kong Hang Seng finished down 1.13%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 1/32, raising the yield to 2.192%. The dollar was up 0.06% to $80.66 according to the U.S. dollar index .

August gold futures were ticking down 10 cents to $1,366.80 an ounce, while August crude oil futures were up 47 cents to $99.14 a barrel.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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