September 17, 2019 / 11:50 AM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Futures tick lower as Fed policy meeting looms

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* Futures down: Dow 0.23%, S&P 0.17%, Nasdaq 0.25%

By Medha Singh

Sept 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged lower on Tuesday as the focus shifted away from weekend bombings on Saudi Arabia’s main oil refinery to the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting, where it is widely expected to cut interest rates.

The Fed concludes its policy meeting on Wednesday, facing a host of global growth worries including a prolonged U.S.-China trade war into which the events in Saudi have thrown an oil price shock.

Traders currently see a 65.8% chance of a quarter percentage point cut from the Fed this week, down from 88.8% on Friday, according to CME’s FedWatch.

Since the Fed’s last interest rate cut in July, U.S. economic data has shown mixed signals about the health of the economy. While strong retail sales and wage growth have bolstered consumer confidence, the trade war with China continues to weigh on manufacturing and business sentiment.

Deputy-level trade talks between the United States and China are set to resume on Thursday, but any agreement between the two sides is expected to be a superficial fix at this stage.

Tariff concessions from both countries last week helped the benchmark S&P 500 to trade within 1% of its all-time high touched in July.

At 7:09 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 61 points, or 0.23%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 5 points, or 0.17% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 19.5 points, or 0.25%.

U.S. industrial production is expected to have risen 0.2% in August after a fall of 0.2% in July. The data is due at 09:15 a.m. ET.

Among stocks, Home Depot Inc was the biggest decliner among Dow-listed stocks in trading before the bell, dropping 1.2%, after Guggenheim downgraded the home improvement chain’s shares to “neutral” from “buy”.

Shares of Corning Inc tumbled 9.3% after the display glass maker cut its current-quarter display volume forecast.

Kraft Heinz Co slipped 2.5% after the packaged food maker’s second-largest investor, 3G Capital, sold over 25 million shares in open market at a discount. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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