US STOCKS-Futures little changed after two-day rally, Fed awaited

Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:09am EDT

* S&P 500 coming off two-day rally, near record close

* Tech shares in focus following Oracle, Adobe results

* Investors not expecting curve balls in Fed statement

* Futures up: Dow 8 pts, S&P 1.4 pt, Nasdaq 5.5 pts

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, March 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors paused following a sharp two-day advance, and as they looked ahead to comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

* Geopolitical concerns remained in view after Ukraine's acting defense minister said the country's forces would not withdraw from Crimea after the region voted to join Russia in a disputed referendum.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a treaty to make it part of Russia, and while no violence was reported as pro-Russian forces took control of part of a Ukraine naval base, investors are concerned that tensions in the region could escalate.

* Technology shares will be in view a day after results from both Oracle Corp and Adobe Systems Inc. Oracle reported revenue that was below estimates, dashing hopes for a sustained turnaround, though Adobe gave a second-quarter revenue outlook that was ahead of analyst forecasts.

* The Fed will announce its policy decision in a statement at 2:00 p.m. (1800 GMT), concluding a two-day meeting. That will be followed by Yellen's first news conference as chair.

* The Fed is not expected to deviate from its policy path so far, and analysts said a further reduction in the central bank's stimulative bond-buying program was largely priced into markets. Still, as the Fed's stimulus has kept a floor under equity prices, market participants will be attuned to any comments on the speed of future cuts, as well as how soon interest rates might be raised.

* S&P 500 futures rose 1.4 point and were 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 added 8 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 5.5 points.

* Equities have rallied this week, boosted by easing geopolitical concerns, though trading volumes have been light. The S&P 500 has risen 1.7 percent over the past two days, the best back-to-back performance for the benchmark index since early February, putting it just 0.3 percent away from a record closing high of earlier this month.

* JPMorgan Chase & Co will sell its physical commodities business to Swiss trade house Mercuria, a source close to the deal told Reuters. Terms were not clear, but the Wall Street Journal reported that when the bank first opened its books to potential buyers in October, it valued the assets at $3.3 billion.

* Boeing Co and Airbus are risking over-stressing the fragile aerospace supply chain as they ramp up plane production to unprecedented levels to meet strong demand, said Steven Udvar-Hazy, chief executive of Air Lease Corp.

* Google Inc on Tuesday unveiled plans to help develop smart watches and other wearable computers based on its Android mobile operating system.

* SolarCity Corp late Tuesday reported fourth-quarter revenue that beat expectations. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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