September 7, 2016 / 11:38 AM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Futures flat as investors seek clues on rates

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Sept 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors seek more clues on the timing of the next interest rate hike.

* The Nasdaq closed at a record level on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 and the Dow edged up after weak services data raised doubts about the ability of the U.S. economy to absorb a rate hike.

* The dollar index was trading flat on Wednesday after falling more than 1 percent a day before. Oil prices also regained some strength, rising about 0.75 percent.

* Analysts say the Federal Reserve has been prepping the markets for a possible hike in December. However, a recent spate of disappointing economic data, including last week’s jobs numbers, could scuttle those plans.

* Traders have priced in a 15 percent chance of a hike when the Fed meets later this month and a 45.7 percent chance of a move in December, according the CME Group’s FedWatch too.

* The central bank is scheduled to release its Beige Book, a summary of commentary on economic conditions on Wednesday, which investors will parse for rate-hike clues.

* The U.S. Labor Department will release a report on monthly job openings and layoffs at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT). The report will give more insight into the labor market.

* Apple shares were up 0.40 percent at $108.13 in thin premarket trading. The world’s most valuable public company is expected to unveil the new iPhone 7 later on Wednesday.

* Chipotle rose 6.3 percent to $439.75 after activist investor William Ackman’s hedge fund Pershing Square bought a 9.9 percent stake in the burrito chain operator.

* Valeant rose 2.1 percent to $30.10 after the company and Progenics announced the U.S. commercial launch of FDA-approved Relistor tablets.

Futures snapshot at 7:28 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were down 9 points, or 0.05 percent, with 13,002 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 1.75 points, or 0.08 percent, with 121,163 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 3.75 points, or 0.08 percent, on volume of 18,309 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru)

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