Futures flat with focus on tariff deadline, Fed decision

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat opening on Wednesday, with eyes fixed on the latest outcome of the Federal Reserve’s deliberations on interest rates and the looming deadline on tariffs in President Donald Trump’s trade war with China.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 21, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

Stocks have stalled so far in December after three straight months of gains, hurt by worries over a delay in the signing of an interim trade deal between Washington and Beijing as well as global growth concerns.

President Donald Trump has just days to decide whether to impose levies on nearly $160 billion in Chinese goods.

The White House’s top economic and trade advisers are expected to meet in coming days with Trump over the decision, a source told Reuters, though a final decision has not been made.

The Fed is widely expected to keep interest rates steady in its last policy statement of the year, due at 2:00 p.m. ET (1900 GMT). Investors are also awaiting Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s outlook on the economy when he holds a news conference later in the day.

Also slated for this week is the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday, along with general elections in Britain.

Data on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET is expected to show the Labor Department’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.2% in November, compared with a 0.4% gain a month earlier, according to economists polled by Reuters.

Other upcoming domestic indicators of interest this week include monthly inflation data and retail sales.

At 7:31 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 34 points, or 0.12%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 0.25 points, or 0.01% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 7.5 points, or 0.09%.

Among stocks, Home Depot Inc HD.N fell 1% in premarket trading after the home improvement chain forecast fiscal 2020 sales growth below Wall Street expectations, weeks after the company cut its 2019 sales forecast.

Tesla Inc TSLA.O gained 1.2% as the electric carmaker plans to increase prices of imported Model 3 vehicles in China in January, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru