US STOCKS-Wall St flat as financials offset consumer declines; Fed eyed

jueves 25 de agosto de 2016 12:56 GYT

* Two Fed officials' comments boost rate hike optimism

* Bank index rises the most in nearly two weeks

* Fed Chair Janet Yellen due to speak on Friday

* Dow down 0.1 pct, S&P up 0.02 pct, Nasdaq up 0.09 pct (Updates to early afternoon)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Aug 25 (Reuters) - Wall Street was little changed on Thursday afternoon as a drop in consumer stocks was offset by gains in technology companies as well as financials after two more Federal Reserve officials said interest rates can be raised.

Their comments followed the hawkish tone set by key Fed policymakers in recent days and came ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech on Friday at Jackson Hole, which will be assessed to see if she takes an aggressive stance.

"I do think it is time to move that rate," Kansas City Fed President and voting member, Esther George, told CNBC, while Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said the central bank was "moving toward being able to take another step."

Following the comments, traders sharply increased their expectations of a hike in September to 24 percent from 18 percent, while pricing in a roughly 55 percent chance of a December hike, according to CME Group's FedWatch program.   Continuación...