April 7, 2016 / 11:32 AM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Futures lower on global growth concerns

* Futures down: Dow 75 pts, S&P 10 pts, Nasdaq 19.5 pts

By Abhiram Nandakumar

April 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were lower on Thursday due to uncertainty about global growth and the Federal Reserve’s plans to hike interest rates.

* Minutes from the Fed’s March meeting released on Wednesday pointed to worries about the central bank’s limited ability to tackle a global economic slowdown, reducing the odds of a rate increase before June.

* The minutes did little to quell concerns about the uncertainty surrounding the plan to raise rates this year.

* Traders are pricing in only one hike this year, with a near 60-percent chance of it coming in December, according to CME Group’s FedWatch Program.

* Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who has urged caution on raising rates, is slated to speak on monetary policy along with former central bank chairmen in New York later in the day.

* Adding to the somber mood were comments by European Central Bank officials, supporting a further easing of monetary policy, amid growing concerns about an uncertain outlook for the global economy.

* The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to 270,000 last week from 276,000 the previous week, data due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT) is expected to show.

* Wall Street closed higher on Wednesday, boosted by gains in healthcare and energy shares.

* Crude held steady at around $40 a barrel as an increase in exports from Iraq offset gains from an unexpected fall in U.S. stockpiles.

* Valeant Pharmaceuticals shares were up 6.6 percent at $36.44 premarket after the Wall Street Journal reported that the Canadian drug maker had secured amendments to its debt from lenders.

* Harley-Davidson fell 5 percent to $44.01 after William Blair cut its rating on the stock to “market perform”.

* Yahoo slipped 1.7 percent to $36.03 after Re/code reported that the Internet company expects sharp decline in revenue and profit for 2016.

Futures snapshot at 7:00 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were down 75 points, or 0.43 percent, with 22,325 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 10 points, or 0.49 percent, with 191,593 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 19.5 points, or 0.43 percent, on volume of 20,547 contracts. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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