(Corrects to “debate” from “the bait” in paragraph 6)
* Best Buy jumps on surprise comparable sales growth
* Investors await Fed Chair Yellen’s Friday speech
* Futures up: Dow 44 pts, S&P 4.75 pts, Nasdaq 12.5 pts
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Aug 23 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher for the first time in three days on Tuesday as investors await Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s speech this week for clues on the next interest rate hike.
As the U.S. earnings season winds down, the focus shifts to the annual meet of global central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, from Thursday, for clues on the health of the global economy and Yellen’s stand on raising rates.
Yellen is scheduled to speak on Friday and will use the opportunity to either support or dismiss the perceived hawkish stand that Fed policymakers have taken in recent days.
Various officials, including Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, have hinted that a rate hike in the coming months was possible.
“There is strong evidence that investors are staying on the sidelines ahead of Yellen’s speech,” said Steven Wieting, global chief investment strategist at Citi Private Bank.
“But, by no means will the Fed want to cut off debate for the September or December meeting.”
Traders’ bets of a rate hike in September stand at 15 percent, and go up to 40 percent for December, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
Dow e-minis were up 44 points, or 0.24 percent at 8:21 a.m., with 16,727 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.75 points, or 0.22 percent, with 145,879 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 12.5 points, or 0.26 percent, on volume of 20,353 contracts.
Oil prices were off 0.7 percent as worries of oversupply trumped hopes of an output freeze. However, the decline was less severe than the 3.4 percent slide on Monday.
Shares of Best Buy jumped 16.6 percent premarket after the electronics retailer posted a surprise rise in quarterly comparable store sales.
J.M. Smucker fell 3.5 percent to $150.80 after the processed foods maker posted lower-than-expected quarterly sales.
Monsanto rose 4.2 percent on a Bloomberg report that the U.S. seeds company’s merger talks with German suitor Bayer AG were advancing toward a deal.
Zoe’s Kitchen dropped 14 percent to $32.05 after the restaurant chain operator’s second-quarter revenue missed analysts’ expectations.
Data due Tuesday is expected to show new home sales fell 2 percent to a 580,000-unit pace in July compared with June. The data is scheduled to be released at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT). (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)