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Stock Futures Rise Ahead of Fed Decision

Tickers in this article: CHK CLWR CMCSA COST FB INTC JOYG MCP S ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a higher open on Wall Street as investors awaited the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy decision and economic outlook.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 13 points, or 46.56 points above fair value, at 13,291. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 1.80 points, or 6.51 points above fair value, at 1433. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 4.75 points, or 10.33 points above fair value, at 2690.

Economists anticipate the Fed will announce Wednesday a $40 billion to $45 billion a month Treasury purchase program targeted on longer-dated Treasuries, expanding total purchases per month, including mortgage-backed securities, to $85 billion. The new program would be launched after Operation Twist expires at the end of the year.

"Other than the new purchase program, we do not anticipate any significant changes to the FOMC statement," noted Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. "While officials could move a step toward 'outcomes-based' guidance on the funds rate -- from 'calendar-based' -- the evolution is more likely to be reflected in the Fed's economic projections than in the post-meeting statement."

The Federal Open Market Committee -- the Federal Reserve's rate-setting arm, is expected to announce its rate decision at 12:30 p.m. EST, followed by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's press conference at 2:15 p.m.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes November import and export prices at 8:30 a.m.

The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.21% and the DAX in Germany was rising 0.24%. Japan's Nikkei average closed up 0.59% on Wednesday and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index settled up by 0.8%.

Gold for February delivery was rising $5.30 at $1,714.90 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while January crude oil contracts were up 46 cents at $86.25 a barrel.

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The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 4/32, pushing the yield up to 1.671%. The dollar was down 0.10%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news, Costco Wholesale (COST) , the warehouse retailer, said Wednesday that fiscal first-quarter profit jumped 30% as sales and membership fees rose.

Sprint Nextel (S) is in talks with Intel (INTC) and Comcast(CMCSA) to buy out their stakes in Clearwire(CLWR) , the U.S. wireless provider, Reuters reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Molycorp(MCP) , the rare-earth mining company, said Tuesday its president and CEO, Mark Smith, resigned.

Chesapeake Energy (CHK) will sell most of its remaining midstream assets for $2.16 billion as it sells off assets to pay off a heavy debt load.

The buyer of the assets, which are located primarily in the Marcellus, Utica, Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Niobrara shale plays located throughout the continental U.S., is Access Midstream Partners L.P.