Stock futures down ahead of Fed meeting

Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:29am EDT
 
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By Tanya Agrawal

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were down on Tuesday as investors took to the sidelines before the start of a two-day Federal Reserve meeting.

Analysts expect recent soft U.S. data will nudge the Fed toward a dovish stance on monetary policy. But investors will scrutinize statements for hints about the timing of a rate hike, which is expected at the end of the year.

Apple (AAPL.O: Quote) rose 2.4 percent to $135.87 in premarket trading a day after the company beat Wall Street's revenue and profit forecasts as it sold more iPhones in China.

Merck (MRK.N: Quote) shares rose 4.5 percent to $59.65 after the company's diabetes drug, Januvia, achieved the main goal of a long-awaited heart safety study. The company also reported better than expected quarterly sales and earnings on Tuesday.

Fellow Dow component and drugmaker Pfizer advanced 1 percent to $34.95 in premarket after reporting its quarterly results.

Data expected on Tuesday include U.S. single-family home prices for February at 9:00 a.m. EDT and U.S. consumer confidence numbers for April at 10 a.m. EDT.

Wall Street ended lower on Monday led by losses in biotech shares after disappointing news from several health companies led the Nasdaq Biotech index to post its biggest daily percentage loss in over a month.

Whirlpool (WHR.N: Quote) fell 6.5 percent to $185 in light premarket trading after it lowered its profit forecast and sales outlook for 2015, blaming the dollar and Brazil's stagnating economy.   Continued...

 
A trader wears an Iron Man mask on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on the day that cast members of the film Avengers: Age of Ultron visit the exchange in New York April 27, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson