March 19, 2019 / 12:56 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street set for higher open as Fed expected to hold fire

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* Big U.S. banks among early gainers

* Boeing eyes 5th session of decline after March 10 crash

* Oil prices rise to 2019 highs

* Futures rise: Dow 0.37 pct, S&P 0.34 pct, Nasdaq 0.41 pct

* U.S. factory orders data due at 10:00 a.m. ET (Adds comment, details; Updates prices)

By Medha Singh

March 19 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes were set to rise at open on Tuesday as investors expected a more accommodative policy stance at the end of U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting this week.

A flurry of downbeat economic data this month has supported market expectations that the Fed may reinforce a halt to further interest rates hikes. The central bank will conclude its deliberations with a news conference on Wednesday.

Investors will also be watching out for the “dot plot,” a diagram showing individual policymakers’ rate views for the next three years, along with details on the Fed’s plans to reduce holdings in bonds.

“There is optimism that the Fed is going to keep rates on hold, the economy is chugging along and we don’t see any inflation,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

“Investors don’t want to miss out on the low interest rate environment which will help fuel the rise in stock prices.”

Some big U.S. lenders were among early movers with Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Citigroup Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co up nearly 0.7 percent in premarket trading.

Among FAANG stocks — Facebook Inc, Inc , Apple Inc, Netflix Inc and Alphabet Inc rose between 0.5 percent and 1.1 percent.

At 8:33 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 96 points, or 0.37 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 9.75 points, or 0.34 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 30.5 points, or 0.41 percent.

In a bright spot, oil prices hovered near 2019 highs, supported by OPEC-led supply cuts.

Optimism that the Fed will remain less aggressive in raising rates and hopes of a resolution to a bitter trade dispute between the U.S. and China helped the markets claw back most of their losses from late last year.

The benchmark S&P 500 hovers at a five-month high and is just 3.5 percent away from its September record closing high.

On Monday all three main indexes closed higher, boosted by technology and financial stocks, marking the benchmark index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq’s fifth rise in last six sessions.

The blue-chip Dow’s advance has been hindered by Boeing Co as the world’s largest planemaker faces increased scrutiny in the wake of two deadly crashes of its 737 MAX aircraft in five months.

Boeing shares dipped 0.2 percent on Tuesday after shedding about 12 percent since the March 10 plane crash in Ethiopia.

Chip designer Nvidia Corp rose 1.7 percent on partnering with Softbank Group Corp and LG Uplus Corp to deploy cloud gaming servers in Japan and Korea later this year.

Yum Brands Inc fell 1.4 percent after J.P.Morgan downgraded the restaurant chain owner’s stock to “neutral” from “overweight”.

In economic news, data at 10 a.m. ET is expected to show new orders for U.S.-made goods rose 0.3 percent in January after edging up 0.1 percent the month before. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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