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Stocks futures set to open flat as investors eye Fed

Posted by: Admin | Posted on: August 24th, 2016 | 0 Comments

Wall Street was set open little changed on Wednesday as investors kept up their wait for Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s speech on Friday for clues on the timing of an interest rate hike.

Yellen’s keynote speech will be the main focus of a meeting of global central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The meet, which starts Thursday, has traditionally been used by Fed chiefs as a platform to signal the direction of monetary policy.

Recent hawkish comments from some Fed policymakers, including Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, have raised expectations that Yellen might signal the possibility of a hike in September.

Wall Street has been on a record-setting run – the Nasdaq hit a record intraday high on Tuesday – due to continued expectations for low rates, coupled with upbeat corporate earnings and strong economic data.

But, trading volumes have been below average in the past few sessions as the earnings season winds down and as traders stay away from major bets ahead of a firmer handle on monetary policy.

“This is going to be a lackluster drift upwards, with perhaps some stocks that have really run-up being the targets for some profit-taking,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 8 points, or 0.04 percent at 8:18 a.m. ET (1218 GMT), with 20,357 contracts changing hands.

SP 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 1.25 points, or 0.06 percent, with 146,241 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 4.5 points, or 0.09 percent, on volume of 19,732 contracts.

Shares of Express Inc (EXPR.N) plunged 20.5 percent in premarket trading after the apparel maker slashed its full-year earnings outlook.

Intuit (INTU.O) fell 4.9 percent to $108.30 after the tax-preparation software maker gave a dismal profit and revenue forecast for the current quarter.

La-Z-Boy (LZB.N) dropped 14.6 percent after the company’s quarterly revenue and profit missed analysts’ estimates.

A report on U.S. existing home sales by the National Association of Realtors is likely to show resales fell 0.4 percent in July. The data is due at 10:00 a.m. ET.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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