April 5, 2017 / 11:44 AM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures flat ahead of Fed minutes, Trump-Xi talks

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

April 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday with investors on guard ahead of the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting and talks between the U.S. and Chinese presidents later this week.

* The meeting, starting Thursday, between Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping is likely to be tense, with trade and North Korea expected to dominate. Trump has said the meeting is likely to be a “very difficult one”.

* Also weighing on investors’ minds is Trump’s ability to deliver on tax reform and other pro-business promises after recent setbacks in pushing reforms through Congress.

* Wall Street has rallied on Trump’s promises, with analysts saying the expectations of tax cuts have been priced in. The lofty market valuations will be in sharp focus with the first-quarter earnings season around the corner.

* The Fed raised interest rates in March and indicated it would hike rates twice more this year. The minutes of that meeting are due at 2:00 p.m. ET (1800 GMT).

* Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan is the only central bank official scheduled to speak on Wednesday.

* Among the early movers on Wednesday were shares of Panera Bread. The stock jumped nearly 13 percent to $308.86 after JAB Holdings said it would buy the bakery chain in a deal valued at $7.5 billion.

* Data on tap includes the ADP National Employment report that is likely to show fewer jobs were added in the private sector in March than in February. The report, due at 8:15 a.m. ET, serves as a predecessor to Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report.

* The ISM non-manufacturing index is expected to have slipped to 57 points in March from 57.6 the month earlier. The data is due at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Futures snapshot at 6:57 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 7 points, or 0.03 percent, with 15,505 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 1 point, or 0.04 percent, with 84,858 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 3 points, or 0.06 percent, on volume of 15,928 contracts.

Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza

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