* Futures up: Dow 13 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 6 pts
By Tanya Agrawal
Dec 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors held off on taking big positions ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s speech.
* All eyes will be on Yellen as the Fed is widely expected to pull the trigger on its first hike in interest rates in almost a decade on Dec. 16.
* Yellen will speak before the Economic Club of Washington at 12:25 p.m. ET (1625 GMT).
* She also testifies on the economic outlook before a joint committee of Congress on Thursday.
* The economic data has not been playing ball with the Fed’s policy plans in recent weeks and has been mixed at best. While construction spending has risen, there has been a sharp downturn in the manufacturing surveys along with weaker retail sales.
* However, job growth has been strong and Friday’s employment report is expected to show that the U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in November.
* The CME Group’s analysis of 30-day Fed funds futures prices shows investors place the probability of an interest rate hike this month at 75 percent.
* Other data on Wednesday is expected to show U.S. private employers added 190,000 jobs in November, up from the 182,000 in October. The data is expected at 8:15 a.m. ET.
* A host of Fed speakers make appearances through the day, including Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart, San Francisco Fed President John Williams, Federal Reserve Board Governor Daniel Tarullo and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker.
* U.S. stocks started December on a positive note as health and consumer shares bounced back while auto sales suggested upbeat growth in November.
* Yahoo shares were up 5.3 percent at $35.49 in premarket trading after reports that the company was weighing a sale of its core Internet business. Alibaba, in which Yahoo has a stake, was up 0.9 percent at $84.74.
* Facebook was up 0.2 percent at $107.29, a day after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he will put 99 percent of his Facebook shares, currently worth about $45 billion, into a new philanthropy project.
Futures snapshot at 7:03 a.m. ET:
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.5 points, or 0.07 percent, with 91,254 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 5.75 points, or 0.12 percent, on volume of 12,940 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 13 points, or 0.07 percent, with 11,510 contracts changing hands. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Don Sebastian)