Futures fall as Fed gives no clarity on next rate hike


By Yashaswini Swamynathan

* The Fed left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday but gave no firm signal of a hike in March, as it awaits more clarity on President Donald Trump’s fiscal policies, adding another layer to the uncertainty triggered by his recent comments and decisions.

* The dollar dropped to a near 12-week low of 99.23 against a basket of major currencies. The greenback has been beaten down by Trump’s comments on its strength and concerns over his protectionist policies.

* Investors are also closely watching comments from the U.S. administration that could cause short-term volatility in the market.

* Wall Street was lifted by a spike in Apple (AAPL.O) after the company reported strong results, but the S&P 500 and the Dow pared most of their gains at the close due to losses in energy and utilities.

* A clutch of earnings including Amazon.com (AMZN.O), Visa (V.N) and Amgen (AMGN.O) will keep investors busy on Thursday.

* Initial jobless claims is expected to have slipped by 9,000 to 250,000 last week. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT) and comes ahead of a closely watched monthly hiring data on Friday.

* Among stocks, Facebook (FB.O) edged up 1.4 percent to $135.03 in heavy premarket trading following the company’s strong quarterly earnings and revenue.

* Shutterfly (SFLY.O) dropped nearly 20 percent to $41.50 after the digital imaging company reported a 30.6 percent decline in quarterly profit.

* Mead Johnson (MJN.N) jumped 25 percent to $87 after Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) said it was in advanced talks to buy the baby formula maker for $16.7 billion.

Futures snapshot at 7:00 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were down 48 points, or 0.24 percent, with 21,675 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were down 6 points, or 0.26 percent, with 112,227 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were down 17.25 points, or 0.34 percent, on volume of 21,834 contracts.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)



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