RPT-US STOCKS-Futures edge higher as investors focus on Fed

Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:54am EST

* Fed to announce monetary policy decision at 12:30 p.m. ET

* Fed set to keep buying $85 bln per month in assets

* Futures up: S&P 2 pts, Dow 14 pts, Nasdaq 6.75 pts

NEW YORK, Dec 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Wednesday, setting Wall Street up for a sixth day of gains, as investors anticipated the U.S. Federal Reserve will announce a new round of bond buying to support the economy.

* The Fed is expected to unveil a fresh round of bond buying on Wednesday as part of efforts to support a fragile economic recovery threatened by political wrangling over the government's budget. The monetary policy committee's decision is expected around 12:30 p.m. ET (1730 GMT)

* Negotiations intensified to avert the "fiscal cliff" - tax hikes and spending cuts that kick in early in 2013 - ahead of a year-end deadline as President Barack Obama and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner spoke by phone on Tuesday after exchanging new proposals.

* On the macroeconomic front, import and export price data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect import prices edged down by 0.5 percent last month, while export prices remained flat.

* S&P 500 futures rose 2 points and were slightly above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 14 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 6.75 points.

* India's government announced an inquiry into lobbying practices by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Wednesday after a report that the giant retailer had pressed U.S. lawmakers to help gain access to foreign markets.

* Costco Wholesale Corp posted a 30 percent rise in quarterly profit, beating expectations, as the largest U.S. warehouse club chain saw sales rise and got a lift from higher membership fees.

* Sprint Nextel Corp is in talks with Intel Corp and Comcast Corp to buy out their stakes in the U.S. wireless provider Clearwire Corp, two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

* U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, led by technology companies. The S&P 500 closed at its highest since Election Day on Nov. 6.

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