US STOCKS-Futures lower as strong dollar hits commodities
* Futures down: Dow 78 pts, S&P 10.5 pts, Nasdaq 23 pts
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were lower on Thursday ahead of the long Easter weekend as a stronger dollar weighed on commodities.
* The dollar was on track for its best streak of gains in almost a year after comments by U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers suggested more than one increase in interest rates this year.
* The comments by Fed officials come one week after Fed Chair Janet Yellen adopted a cautious tone on raising rates and said the central bank remains data dependant and wary of weak global financial and economic conditions.
* St Louis Fed President James Bullard is slated to speak on the U.S. economy and monetary policy. Bullard, a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, said on Wednesday that he remains wary of raising rates when inflation expectations are falling.
* Oil prices, which had recovered from a rout that sent both benchmarks to multi-year lows, fell below $40 a barrel as U.S. crude inventories touched record highs.
* Wall Street closed lower on Wednesday as a five-week rally, which had pushed the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average into positive territory for the year, lost momentum.
* The S&P was down 0.35 percent for the year, while the Dow held on to a small gain for 2016. Continuación...