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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange June 18, 2012. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange June 18, 2012. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

Premarket: Futures edge up on central bank hopes Add to ...

U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Tuesday as investor hopes for central bank stimulus measures rose after tepid German economic data and ahead of a two-day policy meeting of the U.S . Federal Reserve.

* German analyst and investor sentiment dropped in June at its fastest rate since October 1998, indicating the euro zone’s strongest economy may be vulnerable to the effects of the region’s debt crisis.

* The Federal Open Market Committee begins the first day of a two-day meeting on interest rate policy, with expectations increasing that the U.S. central bank may extend its “Operation Twist” program, its effort to drive down long-term borrowing costs.

* Spain’s government bond yields eased after it raised 3 billion euros at a short-term debt sale, although yields on its 10-year bond remained above 7 the troublesome 7 per cent mark.

* In Greece, political leaders raced to build a coalition government led by conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, that would seek to renegotiate the terms of Greece’s 130 billion euro EU/IMF bailout agreement.

* The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 added 0.6 percent, bouncing back after a drop on the German data.

* S& P 500 futures rose 2.6 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 gained 24 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 7.5 points.

* The Group of 20 leading and emerging economies will “take the necessary actions” to strengthen the global economy, and if growth weakens substantially, countries without heavy debt loads stand ready to stimulate their economies, according to a draft communique from the G20 summit.

* Oracle Corp rose 3.2 per cent to $28 (U.S.) in premarket after it reported stronger-than-expected quarterly profit after the bell on Monday, releasing the results three days ahead of schedule after news of the pending departure of a senior sales executive fueled concerns that business was stagnating.

* Julius Baer is in talks with Bank of America about buying Merrill Lynch’s non-U.S. wealth management unit, reported to be worth up to $2-billion and which would see the acquisition-hungry Swiss private bank land another big deal. Bank of America shares gained 0.6 per cent to $7.81 premarket.

* Walgreen Co gained 2.6 per cent to $32.80 premarket after the pharmacy chain reported quarterly earnings and said it would buy a 45 percent stake in KKR & Co -backed Alliance Boots for $6.7-billion in a cash and stock deal.

* Economic data on tap includes housing starts and permits for May at 8:30 a.m. (ET). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 720,000 annualized rate for starts versus 717,000 in April, and a total of 728,000 permits compared with 723,000 in the prior month.

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