US STOCKS-Futures little changed as Yellen comments awaited

jueves 12 de noviembre de 2015 08:32 GYT

* Futures: Dow down 18 pts, S&P flat, Nasdaq down 1 pt

By Abhiram Nandakumar

Nov 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday ahead of scheduled speeches by several Federal Reserve policymakers, including Chair Janet Yellen, and weekly jobless claims data.

* Investors will parse the data and policymakers' remarks for clues on if the central bank will raise interest rates next month, as is widely expected.

* Yellen is scheduled speak at 9:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT). Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, New York Fed President William Dudley and Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer are also scheduled to speak during the day.

* The Fed has maintained that it is likely to pull the trigger next month if data supports its view that the economy was strong enough to withstand higher rates.

* In contrast, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hinted on Thursday that the bank could extend stimulus programs at its policy meeting next month as inflation dynamics had somewhat weakened.

* U.S. data due on Thursday is expected to show jobless claims benefits fell 6,000 to 270,000 last week, indicating continued improvement in the labor market. The data is due at 8:30 a.m.

* U.S. stocks closed lower on Wednesday, weighed down by a slide in energy stocks and brick-and-mortar retailers after Macy's weak results and forecast.   Continuación...