US STOCKS-Wall St near flat as investors assess rate outlook

miércoles 7 de septiembre de 2016 15:40 GYT

* Nasdaq touches record intraday high

* Whole Foods, Sprouts shares fall

* Indexes: Dow down 0.1 pct, S&P down 0.04 pct, Nasdaq up 0.1 pct (Updates to late afternoon)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

Sept 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday as investors assessed the outlook for U.S. interest rates, while Sprout Farmers Market's forecast weighed on grocers.

Whole Foods fell 5.5 percent after smaller rival Sprouts Farmers Market painted a bleak picture for grocers with its disappointing quarterly outlook. Sprouts shares were down 13.7 percent, while Kroger shares fell 3.7 percent.

Investors have been weighing the likelihood of a rate hike from the Federal Reserve this month, with recent data suggesting the Fed could hold off for now.

The Fed said in its Beige Book report of anecdotal information collected that the U.S. economy expanded at a modest pace in July and August, but there was little sign that wage pressures are being felt beyond highly skilled jobs.

Data is "sending the lower-for-longer interest rates message out there," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.   Continuación...