January 4, 2017 / 12:27 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures rise ahead of Fed minutes

* Futures up: Dow 26 pts, S&P 3.5 pts, Nasdaq 7 pts

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Jan 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher on Wednesday as investors awaited the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s December meeting in which the central bank raised interest rates.

* The Fed raised rates for the first time last year, citing strength in the labor market and a slight uptick in inflation. Investors will be keen to assess policymakers’ view on inflation, especially after a spate of strong economic data.

* The minutes of the Dec. 13-14 meeting are expected at 2:00 p.m. ET (1900 GMT).

* With just over two weeks left before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, investors are waiting for the finer details of his proposed policies such as tax cuts and higher fiscal spending.

* Major automakers will release U.S. sales data for 2016 on Wednesday. Encouraging data could push the Dow Jones Industrial Average to the elusive 20,000 mark.

* The Dow came within an arm’s distance of the milestone several times in the past few weeks and closed at 19,881.76 on Tuesday.

* Wall Street ended the first trading of the new year with sharp gains as increases in technology stocks helped offset a decline in oil prices.

* Oil, which hit an 18-month high on Tuesday before reversing course due to a strong dollar, was up marginally at $55.67 on Wednesday.

* The dollar fell to profit-taking and was down 0.20 percent, a day after its index rose to a 14-year high.

* Tesla shares fell 1.9 percent to $212.88 in premarket trading after the electric carmaker reported a 9.4 percent decline in quarterly deliveries.

* Depomed soared 12.5 percent to $22.89 after the NY Post reported that KKR & Co was still interested in buying the drugmaker.

Futures snapshot at 6:59 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 26 points, or 0.13 percent, with 13,068 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 3.5 points, or 0.16 percent, with 83,684 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7 points, or 0.14 percent, on volume of 10,736 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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