News Column

U.S. futures rise ahead of Fed minutes; Dow Jones up 0.23%

May 21, 2014 - - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday, as markets eyed the minutes of the Federal Reserve's most recent policy meeting, due later in the day.

Ahead of the open, the Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.23% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.25% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.28% increase.

Markets were jittery ahead of the minutes from the Fed's latest monetary policy meeting due later on Wednesday, as investors awaited further indications on the central bank's view of the economy.

Recent U.S. economic reports indicating that the recovery remains uneven have weighed on U.S. Treasury yields, pressuring the dollar lower.

The tech sector was set to be in focus, after Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) said it is currently working with China's government to evaluate its Windows 8 operating system after the software was excluded from a government purchasing order. Shares in the software maker slipped 0.20% in after-hour trade.

In addition, Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a larger and lighter version of its Surface Pro tablet, in a move to counter the popularity of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s iPad and MacBook Air laptop. (NYSE:CRM) climbed 0.57% pre-market, after the maker of customer-management software late Tuesday forecast second-quarter sales that exceeded analysts' predictions.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) was also slated to move, as Alstom (PARIS:ALSO) Chief Executive Officer Patrick Kron called on the French government to back the U.S. group's $17 billion offer to buy the company's energy units, saying uncertainty about Alstom's future is making it difficult to win orders.

Among Internet-related stocks, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) said it is preparing to launch its online movie and TV subscription service later this year in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Shares were steady, down 0.07%, in extended trade.

Yahoo! Inc (NASDAQ:YHOO), down 0.06% in late trading, was also slated to move amid reports it is in early discussions to acquire startup RayV Inc., with hopes of expanding its array of Internet-video services.

Other stocks likely to be in focus included Target (NYSE:TGT), PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM), Tiffany & Co (NYSE:TIF), American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO), NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) and Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM), scheduled to report quarterly earnings later in the day.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mixed to higher. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.29%, France's CAC 40 eased up 0.04%, Germany's DAX added 0.26%, while Britain'sFTSE 100 dipped 0.06%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched up 0.01%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.24%. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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Source: Forexpros

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