US STOCKS-Futures higher as investors await Yellen's speech

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
US STOCKS-Futures higher as investors await Yellen's speech
Credit: © Reuters.

* Futures up: Dow 45 pts, S&P 6.75 pts, Nasdaq 19.75 pts

By Sruthi Shankar

Aug 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Friday as investors await Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech at the central bankers' symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for clues regarding the future path of monetary tightening.

* Energy stocks will be in focus as the industry braces for Hurricane Harvey which may become the biggest storm to hit the U.S. mainland in more than a decade. Oil prices were up about 0.6 percent. O/R

* Shares of consumer staples will also be in focus after Amazon AMZN.O laid out plans, including price cuts for range of products, as it completes its purchase of Whole Foods WFM.O . Shares of rival grocers tumbled Thursday. Yellen's speech on financial stability is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT), while European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is slated to speak at 03:00 p.m. ET.

* Although there are slim chances for policy announcements, investors will scrutinize Yellen's speech for more clarity on the timing of the Fed's unwinding of its massive bond holdings and if a third interest rate hike this year is on the cards.

* While inflation remains stuck below the central bank's 2-percent target, a low unemployment rate and low bond yields could still argue the case for another hike. The chances of a move in December stand at 37.6 percent, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.

* The shift in focus to monetary policy comes after weeks of political uncertainty in Washington, concerns over geopolitics and President Donald Trump's controversial comments that have kept the investors on edge.

* Trump will launch major push on tax reform next week with a speech in Missouri, Gary Cohn, head of White House national economic council, told the Financial Times. Shares of Autodesk ADSK.O were up about 5 percent in premarket trading after the software maker reported a smaller-than-expected loss and raised its forecast. Ulta Beauty ULTA.O was down 5 percent after the beauty products retailer reported slower growth in comparable sales.

* Twitter TWTR.N lost 1.66 percent after Jefferies cut rating and price target on the stock.

* Adamas Pharmaceuticals ADMS.O soared about 50 percent after the FDA approved its drug, while GameStop (NYSE: GME ) GME.N shed about 6 percent after its profit narrowly missed estimates. A report from the Commerce Department at 8:30 a.m. ET is likely to show orders for durable goods fell 6 percent in July, after a 6.4 percent rise in the previous month.

Futures snapshot at 7:02 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 45 points, or 0.21 percent, with 17,711 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 6.75 points, or 0.28 percent, with 123,818 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 19.75 points, or 0.34 percent, on volume of 26,830 contracts.

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