US STOCKS-Futures rise as investors scale back rate hike expectations

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* Futures up: Dow 0.61%, S&P 0.70%, Nasdaq 0.89%

June 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday as signs of slowing economic growth and falling commodity prices eased expectations over how high the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates to rein in inflation.

Fears that aggressive tightening by major central banks will cause a sharp economic downturn have roiled financial markets this month, pushing the benchmark S&P 500 to confirm a bear market or a 20% fall from its recent peak.

Data on Thursday showed U.S. business activity slowed considerably in June, driving investors to scale back bets on where interest rates may peak and bring forward their views on the timing of rate cuts.

Money markets see U.S. interest rates peaking at around 3.4% by next March, far below the just above 4% priced for June 2023 before last Wednesday's Fed meeting. FEDWATCH

Copper prices on Friday were set for their biggest weekly fall in a year and other industrial metals also tumbled, while crude oil was headed for a second straight weekly decline.

The Fed's commitment to reining in 40-year-high inflation is "unconditional," Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers on Thursday, a day after saying it was not trying to provoke a recession but that was "certainly a possibility."

The main stock indexes looked set to notch their first weekly gain in four, with healthcare, real estate and utilities - among sectors considered as safer bets during times of economic uncertainty - outperforming so far in the week.

Megacap stocks such as Apple Inc and Tesla rose about 1% in premarket trading. Rising interest rates have hurt shares of the mega-cap growth companies as their valuations rely more heavily on future earnings.

At 06:58 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 187 points, or 0.61%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 26.75 points, or 0.7%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 104.5 points, or 0.89%.

FedEx Corp rose 3.4% after the parcel delivery company issued a stronger-than-expected full-year profit forecast despite softening global demand for shipping.

Bank stocks were mixed after the Federal Reserve's annual "stress test" exercise showed that the lenders have enough capital to weather a severe economic downturn.

Citigroup Inc slipped 0.3%, while Bank of America Corp rose 0.3% and Morgan Stanley 0.7%.

Zendesk Inc soared 55.4% after reports said the software company was close to a deal with a group of buyout firms that includes Hellman & Friedman LLC and Permira.

The University of Michigan's survey on U.S. consumer sentiment in June and new home sales data will be published later in the day. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)