Futures subdued as Fed policy meeting looms

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[June 17, 2019]  By Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures treaded water on Monday, after the main indexes ended the previous week slightly higher, as focus shifted to a pivotal Federal Reserve meeting that could lay the groundwork for an interest rate cut later this year.

The S&P 500 index has risen nearly 5% so far in June on hopes of a rate cut in the face of weaker economic data and heightening global trade tensions, but that rally ran out of steam in the past week as traders trimmed their expectations.

The Fed is expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged at a policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, but analysts expect data to show that a growing number of policymakers are open to cutting rates in the coming months.

"The Fed has a very delicate balancing act to contend with as they have a choice of endorsing current dovish market pricing and keeping things calm, or to suggest it's gone too far too quickly and give risk assets a sharp jolt," wrote Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank.

The Fed's policy-setting committee is due to release its statement at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) on Wednesday.

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Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

At 7:14 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.02%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.25 points, or 0.04% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.11%.

Investors also braced for the Group of 20 summit at the end of the month, which may yield progress on resolving the prolonged trade war between the United States and China.

Among stocks, Pfizer Inc edged down 0.1% in premarket trading after the drugmaker said it would buy Array Biopharma Inc for $10.64 billion. Shares of Array jumped 59%.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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