By Ambar Warrick

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were lower on Thursday after the Federal Reserve delivered a widely expected interest rate cut but played down hopes of further monetary easing.

New projections showed policymakers at the median expected interest rates to stay within the new range through 2020, disappointing investors who were hoping for additional cuts to help blunt the economic fallout from the U.S.-China trade war.

Prolonged trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies have roiled equity markets and raised concerns about slowing global growth, leading to stimulus actions from several major central banks.

U.S. and Chinese deputy trade officials are set to resume face-to-face talks on Thursday for the first time in nearly two months, aiming to lay the groundwork for high-level negotiations planned in early October.

Wall Street indexes ended slightly higher on Wednesday after the central bank’s monetary policy announcement. Expectations of lower borrowing costs have supported U.S. stocks through the year, with the S&P 500 benchmark index () trading less than 1% below a record high hit in July.

At 7:11 a.m. ET, were down 56 points, or 0.21%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 7 points, or 0.23% and were down 31.5 points, or 0.4%.

Microsoft Corp (O:) and retailer Target Corp (N:) rose 1% and 2.1%, respectively, in premarket trading, after the companies announced share buyback programs and quarterly dividends.

Content delivery network provider Akamai Technologies Inc (O:) was down 2.6% after KeyBanc analysts downgraded the stock to “sector weight” from “over weight”. On the economic front, data at 8:30 a.m. ET is likely to show a reading of 11 on the Philadelphia Fed business activity index for September, down from 16.8 in August.

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2019-09-19