* Fed to announce policy decision at 2 p.m EDT (1800 GMT
* ADP employment report on tap
* S&P closes at new record, marks sixth straight months of
* Futures: S&P up 1.5 pts, Dow up 9 pts, Nasdaq up 2.75 pts
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, May 1 U.S. stock index futures were
little changed on Wednesday as investors waited to hear from the
U.S. Federal Reserve on the state of the economy, and on signs
of fatigue after the S&P 500 benchmark index ended at another
all-time closing high.
The U.S. Federal Reserve, which is holding a two-day policy
meeting, announces its latest decision at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT)
and the European Central Bank follows on Thursday. The Fed is
likely to keep its foot on the stimulus pedal especially after
disappointing economic data.
Expectations of more action to boost growth, in particular
anticipation of an interest rate cut by the ECB, have helped
European shares rally more than 3 percent from mid-April lows.
S&P 500 futures added 1.3 points and were slightly
above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking
into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of
the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added
5 points while Nasdaq 100 futures rose 4 points.
"Sell in May and go away? I don't think so. We are likely to
kick off May on the plus side," said Peter Cardillo, chief
market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
"The Fed will be the key today. I expect them to acknowledge
that the economy has slowed down, and if anything, that will
reinforce the notion that the Fed stimulus will be around till
the end of the year."
The S&P 500 closed out its sixth straight month of gains,
its longest winning streak since September 2009, with investors
using any pullback as a buying opportunity.
The benchmark index hit a new intraday high in the last
minutes of trading on Tuesday, following a session in which
moves were slight as investors found few reasons to extend
DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc shares were up 7.4
percent in premarket trade following upgrades from a number of
brokerages after reporting earnings late Tuesday.
Merck & Co Inc reported lower-than-expected first
quarter sales, as generic competition hurt demand for its
Singulair asthma drug and the stronger dollar hit overseas sales
of its medicines. The stock was down 0.2 percent in premarket
In macroeconomic news, ADP's employment report due at 8:15
a.m. EDT is likely to show private employment rose by 150,000
jobs in April, compared to prior reading of 158,000 in March,
according to a Reuters survey of analysts.
The Institute for Supply Management's gauge of
manufacturing, due at 10:00 a.m. EDT, is likely to show a
reading of 50.9 for April, according to Reuters survey, compared
to the previous month's reading of 51.3.