* Futures off: Dow 11 pts, S&P 2.25 pts, Nasdaq 2.25 pts
By Tanya Agrawal
Sept 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were lower on Thursday ahead of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision.
* The Fed will announce the outcome of its policy meeting at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT), followed by a press conference by Chair Janet Yellen at 2:30 p.m. ET.
* An increase in the Fed’s benchmark rate, from near zero, would be the first since 2006.
* Fed fund futures <0#FF:> see a 30 percent chance the Fed will pull the trigger. Of the 80 economists polled by Reuters, 35 said a rise is likely on Thursday.
* Energy stocks pushed Wall Street higher on Wednesday after an almost 6-percent jump in oil prices, but trading was thin as investors braced for the Fed.
* Speculation about when the Fed will move has dogged Wall Street for months, and recent market turbulence linked to slowing growth in China has further complicated the picture.
* Many analysts say a rate hike now would help remove a lot of the uncertainty that has troubled investors.
* “As it stands now considering (Wednesday‘s) market rally, the bearish decision will be for the Fed not to hike,” Mike O‘Rourke, chief market strategist at Jones Trading, said in a note.
* The Fed has said it will raise rates when it sees a sustained recovery in the economy. While the unemployment rate has fallen to multi-year lows, inflation has remained stuck at 1.8 percent, below the Fed’s 2 percent target.
* Shares of Cablevision jumped 16.3 percent to $33.20 premarket after European telecoms group Altice agreed to buy the company in a deal valued at $17.7 billion.
* Oracle was down 1.4 percent at $37.74 a day after the company warned that revenue could fall in the current quarter.
Futures snapshot at 6:46 a.m. ET:
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 2.25 points, or 0.11 percent, with 121,496 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 2.25 points, or 0.05 percent, in volume of 13,335 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were down 11 points, or 0.07 percent, with 12,456 contracts changing hands. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Ted Kerr)