US STOCKS-Wall St to open lower ahead of Fed statement

miércoles 18 de marzo de 2015 08:59 GYT

* Futures off: Dow 86 pts, S&P 7 pts, Nasdaq 15 pts

* Alibaba shares tick lower as lock-up set to expire

* FedEx falls after lower outlook

* U.S. crude futures hit fresh 6-year low (Updates prices, adds comment)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, March 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to fall at the open on Wednesday ahead of a highly anticipated statement and news conference by the Federal Reserve later in the session, with the Fed expected to give clearer clues on how soon it plans to tighten monetary policy.

The U.S. central bank is expected to provide indications on the timing of its first interest rate hike in nearly a decade, as it assesses whether the U.S. economic recovery can hold up against collapsing oil prices and a soaring dollar.

A Fed statement is due at 2:00 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), with a press conference by Chair Janet Yellen half an hour later.

The U.S. dollar has strengthened against most major currencies as central banks around the world ease monetary policy while the Fed is on track to tighten.   Continuación...