U.S. Stock index futures pointed to a day of positive and optimistic trading – though with the volatility of election day results, there's still plenty of room for error. Perhaps more importantly, a general consensus among bankers has been reached about the size of the quantitative easing package, which is now estimated to come in at around $500 billion.
Dow Jones Industrial Average index futures were up 53 points to 11,143, while S&P 500 index futures rose 6.7 points to 1,189.8 at 8:58 a.m. EST.
Nasdaq 100 index futures gained 11 points to 2,140.
The presidents of several regional federal reserve banks – notably James Bullard of the St. Louis Fed and Dennis Lockhart of the Atlanta Fed – suggested that the Fed might begin with a purchase of $100 billion in the next month and adjust the pace in subsequent months as the economy develops. Some investors are expecting the central bank to purchase mortgage-backed securities in addition to or instead of Treasury notes, as well.
The Fed begins its meeting today, and voters will go to the polls to deliver what most pundits believe will be a negative review of President Barack Obama's first two years at the helm of the ailing U.S. economy. Jobs and the lack thereof, more than any concerns about war, the environment or healthcare, dominate the minds of the American public right now.
In the past, election-day trading has hinged on the results at the polls. But with Congress already mostly stalled and likely to become completely deadlocked, all eyes are on Bernanke.
"[The Fed] really can't afford to mislead the market. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke himself has been forthright in indicating that he thinks quantitative easing will be required," Mike Lenhoff, the chief strategist at Brewin Dolphin Securities in London, told Bloomberg News.
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