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Futures modestly higher ahead of Fed meeting

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July 30, 2013 09:30 AM EST | AP

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NEW YORK — U.S. stock futures rose modestly Tuesday, with most investors taking a wait-and-see approach ahead of a two-day Fed policy meeting.

Dow Jones industrial futures gained 37 points to 15,520. The broader S&P futures have added 4.3 points to 1,686.80. Nasdaq futures are up 12 points to 3,077.50.

The meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve begins Tuesday, though almost no one is expecting any change in aggressive policies intended to bolster the economic recovery.

The Fed has kept its key short-term interest rate close to zero and has vowed to leave it there until the unemployment rate dips below 6.5 percent. It now stands at 7.6 percent.

Shares of homebuilders jumped in premarket trading after a report showing that U.S. home prices jumped 12.2 percent in May compared with a year ago, the biggest yearly gain since March 2006.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index also surged 2.4 percent in May from April, nearly matching the previous monthly gain of 2.6 percent – the highest on record.

Some of the nation's biggest pharmaceutical makers posted mixed results.

Pfizer's second-quarter net income more than quadrupled, but revenue continues to fall as patents expire on drugs that had once been blockbusters for the company.

Generic drugs also hurt Merck, where second-quarter profit fell by half.