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U.S. Stock-Index Futures Climb Before Fed Chair Yellen’s Speech

March 31 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures climbed, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will rebound from last week’s decline, as investors awaited a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

Biogen Idec Inc. advanced 1.8 percent in premarket trading after winning U.S. regulatory approval for a blood-disorder treatment. Tesla Motors Inc. added 1.2 percent after reaching an agreement with car-dealer lobbying groups in New York.

S&P 500 futures expiring in June gained 0.3 percent to 1,856.8 at 10:57 a.m. in London. The equity benchmark fell 0.5 percent last week as banks and technology-companies declined, while a speech by President Barack Obama increased concern that tension will escalate in Ukraine. Dow Jones Industrial Average contracts rose 54 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,294 today.

Yellen speaks at a conference in Chicago at 8:55 a.m. local time. The Fed Chair has said that policy makers may wait about six months from the end of their bond-purchase program before raising interest rates. Fed Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said March 28 that the central bank will probably increase interest rates in the second half of 2015.

The Federal Open Market Committee on March 19 scrapped a threshold for considering raising interest rates based on unemployment dropping to 6.5 percent. A Labor Department report due on Friday will probably show that the jobless rate fell to 6.6 percent last month from 6.7 percent in February, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Three rounds of bond buying by the Fed have helped the S&P 500 rally as much as 178 percent since its low in 2009.

Business Activity

A release at 8:45 a.m. local time may show business activity decreased in March. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc.’s business barometer fell to 59.5 from 59.8 in February, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Biogen Idec climbed 1.8 percent to $299.40 after its Alprolix drug to treat hemophilia B won approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The medicine may reduce the frequency of infusions required, compared with current treatments, according to Executive Vice President Tony Kingsley.

Tesla gained 1.2 percent to $214.88. Auto-dealer lobbying groups signed an agreement allowing the electric-car maker to open more stores in New York state, while retaining its existing outlets, Governor Andrew Cuomo said March 28. Tesla is negotiating with car dealers state by state for the right to sell its vehicles directly to consumers. It signed a deal in Ohio last week.

Walt Disney Co., which releases the sequel to “Captain America” on Friday, added 1.3 percent to $80. Disney has already released “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” in some overseas markets.

Facebook Inc., owner of the world’s biggest social network, advanced 0.8 percent to $60.51 and Yahoo! Inc., the biggest U.S. Web portal, gained 2.8 percent to $36.90. A gauge of technology companies in the S&P 500 dropped 1.1 percent last week.

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