Stock futures jump after weekly loss, Fed eyed

Monday, June 17th, 2013 | Finance News

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock futures rose on Monday after major equity indexes on Friday closed their third negative week in four, with traders focused on this week's Federal Reserve policy meeting.

While consensus is building among policy-makers that the time is nearing for the U.S. central bank to scale down its quantitative easing, or $85 billion-a-month asset purchase program, divisions remain over when to start the tapering.

Chairman Ben Bernanke said on May 22 during Congressional testimony that the Fed could reduce the pace of QE in the "next few meetings," sparking a global bond and stock selloff.

"There's hopes we'll get clarity from the Fed this week," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

"The market is beginning to adjust itself to an eventual trimming from the Fed towards the beginning of next year," he said. "I think we're headed for more volatility but the market stays range-bound."

Volatility in U.S. equities has spiked, with the average daily range in the Dow industrials near 191 points since Bernanke's testimony in May. The average for 2013 before that was just below 110 points.

S&P 500 futures rose 11 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 102 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 25 points.

Shares of Smithfield Foods rose 1.5 percent in premarket trading after large shareholder Starboard urged the company to break up instead of going forward with a proposed merger with China's Shuanghui International.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc rose 5 percent premarket after Barron's said prospects are looking better for the No. 2 maker of microprocessors for personal computers.

The economic calendar includes the New York Federal Reserve's release of its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for June at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 0.00 compared with -1.43 in May.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo issues its June housing market index at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT). Economists expect a reading of 45, versus 44 in May.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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