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* Futures up: Dow 0.11%, S&P 0.23%, Nasdaq 0.34%
Dec 13 (Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures rose on Monday, led by gains in Apple which neared $3 trillion in market capitalization, while investors looked ahead to the Federal Reserve’s meeting later this week where policymakers are likely to signal faster tapering of monetary stimulus.
Apple Inc shares rose 1.1% in premarket trading after J.P. Morgan raised its price target on the iPhone maker’s shares to the highest on Wall Street. It was poised to become the first company in the world to hit $3 trillion in market value.
Other technology and communications stocks including Meta Platforms Inc, Microsoft Corp, Netflix Inc and Alphabet Inc also gained between 0.2% and 0.9%.
Wall Street’s main indexes have recouped most of their declines from late November after the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus was detected, with the S&P 500 index hitting an all-time closing high on Friday.
Market participants have been buying up shares of mega-cap growth companies, along with many industrial bellwethers and value-oriented stocks, with many analysts pointing to investors buying the dip after the steep selloff caused by Omicron worries.
Positive updates about vaccines and antibody cocktails to combat the new variant, along with a recent reading on inflation that was in line with consensus, have also kept investor sentiment afloat.
The Fed’s policy decision later in the week still remains a top event for markets, with bets running high that the U.S. central bank will hint at a faster tapering of asset buying and an earlier start to raising interest rates.
A Reuters poll of economists sees the central bank hiking key interest rates from near zero to 0.25-0.50% in the third quarter of next year, followed by another in the fourth quarter.
At 7:06 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 39 points, or 0.11%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 11 points, or 0.23%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 56.25 points, or 0.34%.
Pfizer Inc rose 1.6% as it agreed to acquire Arena Pharmaceuticals in a $6.7 billion all-cash deal to expand its cancer and inflammatory disease treatment pipeline. Shares of Arena surged 92.2%. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)