September 28, 2016 / 11:32 AM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures little changed ahead of Yellen's testimony

* Futures: Dow down 0.25 pts, S&P up 1.75 pts, Nasdaq up 11 pts

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Sept 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors awaited Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony before a Congressional Committee.

* Yellen’s testimony will be watched for clues on the timing of the next interest rate hike, a week after the central bank held rates steady but said a move could come later this year.

* Fed presidents and voting members Esther George, James Bullard and Loretta Mester are among the five officials scheduled to speak at separate events through the day.

* Stocks, which have rallied in the absence of an interest rate hike this year, are highly sensitive to Fed comments as a growing number of officials have called for higher rates.

* The dollar index rose for the second straight day on Wednesday, ahead of Yellen’s testimony. Oil prices rose slightly as data showed a draw in U.S. crude stocks, although worries over a lack of agreement among producers to curb output capped gains.

* While the Fed has two meetings left on its calendar for the year, economists say it is mostly likely to pull the trigger on rates in December as the November meeting comes days ahead of the U.S. presidential election.

* Data on tap for Wednesday includes a report on durable goods, which likely fell 1.4 percent last month after rising 4.4 percent in July. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

* Wall Street closed higher on Tuesday, helped by consumer companies and as Hillary Clinton was seen to be the winner of the first presidential debate.

* Analysts say Clinton’s neck-to-neck race to the White House with Donald Trump is likely to spark volatility in the markets in the weeks ahead.

* Mattress maker Tempur Sealy’s shares plunged nearly 24 percent in premarket trading after the company forecast disappointing full-year sales.

* Nike dropped 2.9 percent to $53.76 after the shoemaker’s future orders missed analysts’ estimates for the third time in a row, attracting a slew of price targets by brokerages.

* Sarepta Therapeutics rose 2.5 percent to $60.58 after RBC raised its price target on the drugmaker’s stock.

Futures snapshot at 7:01 a.m. ET:

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 0.25 points, or 0.01 percent, with 155,746 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 1.75 points, or 0.04 percent, on volume of 24,423 contracts.

* Dow e-minis were up 11 points, or 0.06 percent, with 22,006 contracts changing hands. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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