New York - US stock index futures edged higher on Wednesday with markets on tenterhooks ahead of the Federal Reserve's last policy announcement of the year, which might determine the immediate future of its 15-month long program to stimulate the economy.
* Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will follow the 2:00 p.m. (21:00 SA time) announcement with his final press conference at the helm of the US central bank at 2:30 p.m.
* Many expect the Fed to continue its quantitative easing program at the current pace of $85 billion monthly asset purchases into next year, but strengthening economic data of late has pushed some to believe it is time to take away the training wheels and allow the world's largest economy to progress on its own.
* The stimulus has kept a lit on borrowing costs and at the same time flooded markets with liquidity, boosting an equities rally. The S&P 500 closed at a record high on December 9.
* S&P 500 futures rose 3 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.
Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 34 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 5 points.
* Jabil Circuit shares tumbled 18.6 percent in premarket trading a day after the contract electronics maker said it would sell its warranty repair business in a deal valued at $725 million, and forecast current-quarter results way below Wall Street estimates.
* Shares of Lennar Corp rose 3 percent premarket after the No.3 US homebuilder reported a 32 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit.
* FedEx Corp posted higher quarterly profit on Wednesday as the shipping company cut costs and its express delivery segment made more money.
Shares fell 1.7 percent in premarket trading.
The stock is up almost 52 percent in the year to date, while the benchmark S&P 500 has risen about 25 percent in the same time. - Reuters