US STOCKS-Futures rise on dim Fed rate hike prospects
* Futures up: Dow 77 pts, S&P 8.75 pts, Nasdaq 16.75 pts
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Sept 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Monday as investors expect the Federal Reserve to maintain interest rates at its policy meeting this week.
* The central bank's two-day meeting starts on Tuesday in which policymakers will debate over the U.S. economy and its ability to absorb a rate hike.
* Recent lackluster data, including a slowdown in monthly jobs growth, reflected pockets of weakness in the economy, prompting investors to virtually price out a hike in the coming days.
* However, investors expect Fed Chair Janet Yellen's comments to signal a potential move in December.
* The probability of a December move shot up to 70 percent in the past moth from 57.5 percent in the previous month, according to a Reuters poll of over 100 economists.
* The dollar index fell 0.25 percent on dim prospects of higher rates, partly helping oil prices rise more than 1 percent.
* Investors will also keep an eye on the Bank of Japan's policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. Continuación...