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18/03/24 Briefing

US stock futures rose on Monday ahead of a key Federal Reserve rate decision, as investors set aside worries about stalled interest rates to focus on hopes around AI developments.

Futures on the benchmark S&P 500 (^GSPC) added roughly 0.6%, while those on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 (^NDX) led the way higher with an almost 1% gain. Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) futures hovered just above the flatline, signaling a potential comeback from Friday's loss.

Stocks have notched two weeks of declines in a row as hotter-than-expected inflation and other data surprises dented faith in a policy pivot by the Fed. All eyes are now on the Fed's March meeting starting Tuesday, watching for whether policymakers still expect to cut ratesthree times in 2024. Expectations are for the central bank to keep rates unchanged at a 23-year high in its decision on Wednesday.

Techs were on the rise, buoyed by AI buzzahead of the kickoff of chipmaker's Nvidia's (NVDA) annual conference on Monday. Meanwhile, Alphabet (GOOG) (GOOGL) shares climbed after a Bloomberg report that Apple (AAPL) is in talks to build Google's Gemini AIengine into its next iPhone.

But trading on the Nasdaq, which hosts shares in Apple and other tech giants, was disrupted for at least two hours early Monday thanks to a technical glitch that affected connectivity and matching orders.

Investors are also looking out for the public market debut of Reddit on Thursday under the ticker "RDDT" for insight into whether the market for new issues is reviving. The IPO is said to be as much as five times oversubscribed.

Elsewhere, the market is widely expecting the Bank of Japan to ditch its negative-rate policyand hike on Tuesday. Japan's Nikkei (^N225) jumped 2% as investors welcomed the prospect.

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