US STOCKS-Futures flat as investors await Yellen, GDP data

viernes 27 de mayo de 2016 07:35 GYT

* Futures up: Dow 18 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 8 pts

By Tanya Agrawal

May 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Friday as cautious investors braced for a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and the second reading of gross domestic product data for the first quarter.

* Yellen is due to speak at an event hosted by Harvard University at 1:15 p.m. ET (1715 GMT). Her speech comes after a number of Fed policymakers this week struck hawkish tones on the timing of interest rate hikes.

* Investors have grown more comfortable with expectations the central bank could raise interest rates as soon as June, with many taking the view that such a hike would reflect improvement in the country's economy.

* A Fed rate hike in June was seen as highly unlikely as recently as early May. However, the Fed funds futures are now pricing in a 26 percent chance of a rate hike in June and 46 percent in July after a string of strong data and comments from policymakers.

* The Fed next meets on June 14-15.

* Investors will also keep an eye on the second reading of the March quarter U.S. gross domestic product. Economists polled by Reuters expect the economy to have grown at 0.9 percent, up from 0.5 percent - its slowest pace in two years. The data is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET.

* The University of Michigan's final consumer sentiment index likely cooled a bit to 95.4 in May from a preliminary reading of 95.8 earlier this month. That data is expected at 10 a.m. ET.   Continuación...