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U.S. Stock Futures Rise Before Federal Reserve Policy Decision

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures rose, after equities posted the biggest two-day rally in five weeks, as investors awaited a Federal Reserve decision that is forecast to cut monthly bond purchases by $10 billion.

Adobe Systems Inc. gained 1.5 percent after adding online subscribers at a faster-than-estimated pace in the quarter through February. FedEx Corp. fell 0.7 percent after cutting its full-year profit forecast. Oracle Corp. declined 2.7 percent after reporting fiscal third-quarter sales and profit that fell short of analysts’ projections.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in June rose 0.1 percent to 1,866.5 at 8:15 a.m. in New York. The equity gauge is six points away from its record of 1,878.04 reached on March 7. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts added 20 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,282 today.

“The Fed is always a big issue, but I think everybody has a good idea about what they’re going to do,”said Randall Warren, who manages $100 million as chief investment officer of Warren Financial Service in Exton, Pennsylvania. “The numbers that are coming out of the U.S. have held up well through a tough winter. Geopolitical issues are still going on, but it certainly doesn’t appear that we’re being pulled into any serious conflicts.”

Fed Policy

The Federal Open Market Committee will end a two-day policy meeting at which policy makers will opt for a $10 billion cut in monthly bond buying to $55 billion, according to the median of economist estimates in a survey. Officials will continue reductions at that pace at every meeting before closing the program at their Oct. 28-29 gathering, the survey showed.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said last month the U.S. economy was strong enough to withstand measured reductions to the central bank’s monthly bond purchases. Three rounds of Fed stimulus have helped push the S&P 500 up 177 percent from a 12-year low, as U.S. equities enter the sixth year of a bull market that started March 9, 2009.

The S&P 500 advanced 1.7 percent in the last two days as Russia pledged not to seek territory beyond Crimea. The U.S. and Europe are preparing to ratchet up sanctions on Russia after President Vladimir Putin signed an accord setting in motion Crimea’s accession to Russia. With visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials failing to sway Putin, European Union leaders will meet tomorrow to consider “additional and far- reaching consequences.”

Adobe, FedEx

Adobe Systems rose 1.5 percent to $69.58. The company added 405,000 customers for its Creative Cloud Web software, bringing the total to 1.84 million and exceeding analysts’ estimates. Quarterly sales dipped less than 1 percent to $1 billion and profit excluding certain items declined to 30 cents a share. That topped analysts’ average estimate of 25 cents a share on sales of $973.1 million.

Juniper Networks Inc. gained 3.4 percent to $26.79 after Wells Fargo Securities analyst Jess Lubert raised the company to outperform from market perform.

FedEx slipped 0.7 percent to $137.60. The operator of the world’s largest cargo airline cut its full-year profit forecast after winter storms caused fiscal third-quarter results to fall below analysts’ forecasts.

Oracle fell 2.7 percent to $37.80. Revenue in the period that ended Feb. 28 was $9.31 billion, and profit before certain costs was 68 cents a share, Oracle said. On average, analysts had projected $9.36 billion in sales and profit of 70 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

SolarCity Corp. dropped 1.6 percent to $75.89. The biggest U.S. solar-power supplier by market value posted fourth-quarter net income of $26.7 million, compared with a loss of $33 million a year earlier. The profit came largely from an acquisition- related tax benefit, the company said. Excluding one-time items, SolarCity had a loss of 46 cents a share.

Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. lost 2.9 percent to $74.50. The skin-care product seller being investigated in China suspended some promotional meetings and won’t accept new applications for sales jobs in that country. The company is being investigated after a report in People’s Daily newspaper said it’s a “suspected illegal pyramid scheme.”

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