US futures edge higher as Fed meets in Washington

US futures point higher with the Federal Reserve expected to maintain aggressive policies

Associated Press
Fed is expected to maintain stimulative programs

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FILE - The Federal Reserve Building is seen in Washington Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010 file photo. Don't expect the Federal Reserve to let up in its drive to keep stimulating the economy with record-low interest rates. Not yet, anyway. That's the view of economists as Fed policymakers hold a two-day meeting that starts Tuesday March 19, 2013. On Wednesday, the Fed will issue a policy statement and update its economic forecasts, and Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stock futures rose with the Federal Reserve expected to maintain record-low interest rates and other measures to keep the economy tracking toward a recovery.

The Fed kicks off a two-day meeting Tuesday, and will issue a statement and update economic forecasts Wednesday.

Dow Jones industrial futures rose 19 points to 14,409. The broader S&P futures added 3.5 points to 1,550.30. Nasdaq futures gained 8.25 points to 2,795.25.

Global markets are still rattled by a grab for personal bank savings in Cyprus.

The tiny island nation in the Mediterranean roiled markets this week, announcing hefty taxes on banking accounts over the weekend in a bid to steady its ailing banks and to secure an international bailout.

A report from the Commerce Department on housing pushed futures even higher.

U.S. builders started more houses and apartments in February, while requesting permits for future construction at the fastest pace in 4 ½ years.

The gains are likely to grow even faster in the coming months. Building permits, a sign of future construction, increased 4.6 percent to 946,000. That was also the most since June 2008, just a few months into the Great Recession.

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