U.S. stock futures pointed to a steady open on Tuesday, as markets were jittery ahead of the Federal Reserve''s highly anticipated last policy meeting of the year, due to begin later in the day.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.02% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.04% dip, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.05% loss.
Investors remained cautious ahead of the outcome of the Fed’s two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, with some expecting the bank to announce a small reduction in the pace of its USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program.
Markets were also eyeing U.S. inflation data due out later in the session amid concerns that the subdued inflation outlook could prompt the Fed to keep its stimulus program in place for longer.
The financial sector was likely to be in focus, after Citigroup sold its Metalmark Capital private-equity unit to comply with the Volcker Rule, sending the U.S. lender''s shares drop 0.37% in pre-market trade.
According to a statement, Citigroup will keep limited-partner interests in the Metalmark Capital Partners II fund.
Separately, private-equity firm KKR & Co. agreed to buy the publicly traded credit business KKR Financial Holdings in a USD2.6 billion transaction.
Among pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline was expected to be active following reports it will stop paying doctors to promote its medicines after Chinese officials accused the U.K. drugmaker of bribing physicians, a year after the company admitted to similar offenses in the U.S.
Shares in the company were down 0.83% in early trading.
Elsewhere, Caesars Entertainment and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide reportedly decided to jointly promote their customer loyalty programs, offering guests an incentive to spend more on rooms, shows and meals with both companies.
Other stocks likely to be in focus included FactSet, Sanderson Farms and Verifone, scheduled to release quarterly earnings later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower. The EURO STOXX 50 declined 0.43%, France’s CAC 40 retreated 0.80%, Germany''s DAX shed 0.33%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 slid 0.33%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index fell 0.20%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index gained 0.83%.
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