Futures rising ahead of Fed's economic update

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Associated Press

Posted on September 18, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 18 at 9:07 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock futures rose for the fourth consecutive day ahead of the latest economic outlook from the Fed.

Dow Jones industrial futures rose 7 points to 15,472. S&P futures gained 1.5 points to 1,699.80. Nasdaq futures added 8.50 points to 3,192.50.

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday may announce the first retreat in its massive bond-buying program which has flooded international markets with cash and kept interest rates low.

Most economists expect a pullback in bond purchases because the economy has exhibited consistent signs of a recovery, even though there are still millions of unemployed Americans.

That dynamic continues to play out.

The government earlier this month revised downward the number of jobs that were added in June and July. On Wednesday, the Commerce Department said that homebuilders sought permits for new projects at the fastest pace in five years. And ground was broken on more single-family homes than was seen in the past six months.

On the corporate front, Walgreen became the latest major employer to ditch its insurance coverage for workers, instead sending them shopping for their own.

It joins Sears and other major companies that are doing the same.

The nation's largest drugstore chain said Wednesday that it will start giving workers a contribution toward the cost of coverage and then send them to a private health insurance exchange where they will pick from as many as 25 plans.

Also on Wednesday, FedEx reported that its quarterly profit rose 7 percent.

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