US STOCKS-Wall St set to open flat as investors await jobs data
* ADP report: 177,000 jobs added in August vs est. 175,000
* Nonfarm payrolls data due on Friday
* Palo Alto drops after disappointing forecast
* Futures down: Dow 2 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 4.5 pts (Adds details, comments, updates)
By Mamidipudi Soumithri and Yashaswini Swamynathan
Aug 31 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open little changed on Wednesday as investors looked forward to Friday's nonfarm payrolls data for a clearer picture on the health of the economy and the timing of the next interest rate hike.
The markets have been playing a guessing game on when the Federal Reserve would be able to raise rates after top Fed officials, including Chair Janet Yellen, turned hawkish on the back of slow but steady economic growth.
Boston Fed president and voting member Eric Rosengren, in a panel discussion in China on Wednesday, said the Fed was nearing its employment and inflation rate goals, adding that rate hikes could shield the economy.
A smaller-than-expected drop in private payrolls numbers boosted investors optimism about Friday's jobs report which includes both private and public sector employment. Continuación...