March 14, 2017 / 11:43 AM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures dip before Fed policy meeting kicks off

* Futures down: Dow 28 pts, S&P 4.25 pts, Nasdaq 7.5 pts

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

March 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were marginally lower on Tuesday ahead of the Federal Reserve’s closely watched two-day meeting, where it is widely expected to raise interest rates.

* Britain’s parliament paved the way for Prime Minister Theresa May to launch divorce talks with the European Union, potentially adding a layer of uncertainty in the market.

* An almost certain U.S. rate hike lifted the dollar by a third of a percent to 101.67.

* Wall Street’s major indexes have been trading in a tight range since the start of the month as investors prepared for higher rates following a slew of hawkish comments from top Fed officials.

* Stocks ended flat on Monday, with the S&P 500 trading in its tightest range this year as the focus was firmly fixed on the Fed meeting.

* The next big question for the market is whether the Fed could get on a more aggressive path to tightening monetary policy than previously expected as economic data shows signs of improvement, with a potential boost from President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal policies.

* The Fed will release a statement at 2:00 p.m. ET (1800 GMT) on Wednesday followed by a press conference by Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

* Shares of Valeant plunged 13 percent to $10.56 in heavy premarket trading after billionaire investor William Ackman said his hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, sold its entire stake in the company.

* DSW was up 3.4 percent at $20.50 after the footwear and accessories maker reported quarterly profit that beat analysts’ average estimate. Futures snapshot at 7:23 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were down 28 points, or 0.13 percent, with 8,775 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 4.25 points, or 0.18 percent, with 94,620 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 7.5 points, or 0.14 percent, on volume of 4,353 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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