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Futures Rise as Federal Reserve Considers Stimulus Rollback

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were gaining in pre-market trading Wednesday ahead of an announcement from  Federal Reserve about its historic economic stimulus program. Fed commissioners began meeting yesterday to determine whether the economic recovery is robust enough to handle a rollback the central bank's $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program. The stimulus program has been a key component to equity gains in 2013 propelling the Standard & Poor's 500 Index  (^GSPC) to its best year since 2003.

  • S&P 500 futures were advancing 0.38% to 1,779, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 0.3% to 15,857 and Nasdaq futures rose 0.33% to 3,472.
  • Stock markets fell on Tuesday as Wall Street continued to worry over a Fed decision. 
  • Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, due to end his second four-year term in January, will give his final quarterly news conference on Wednesday. A rates decision out of the Federal Open Market Committee is expected at 12:30 p.m. EST.
  • On the economic calendar, housing starts and building permits for November are due for release at 8:30 a.m.
  • European stocks were moving higher, buoyed by better-than-expected data from a German business sentiment survey. Germany's DAX added 0.95%, while France's CAC 40 and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 climbed 0.62% and 0.32%, respectively.
  • FedEx (FDX - Get Report) is slated to report second-quarter earnings before the bell. The postage and shipping giant is expected to post net income of $1.64 a share on $11.43 billion in revenue, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
  • Lennar (LEN - Get Report) gained 3.4% before market open after announcing fourth-quarter revenue that beat expectations by $40 million.
  • Movie theater chain AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC) will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange, with shares priced at $18 a share.

--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.

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