June 22, 2017 / 11:24 AM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures flat as oil prices remain under pressure

* Indexes down: Dow 13 pts, S&P 500 1.75 pt, Nasdaq 3.75 pts

By Sruthi Shankar

June 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday as oil edged up from multi-month lows but prices remained under pressure.

* U.S. crude futures were up 0.4 percent at $42.70 per barrel. They closed down 1.6 percent on Wednesday after touching their lowest level since August. Global benchmark Brent traded at around $45.24.

* Since peaking in late February, crude has dropped around 20 percent, skidding into bear market territory, despite OPEC-led efforts to balance the market.

* The S&P energy index, which has lost 14.9 percent this year, is the worst performing sector, largely underperforming the broader S&P 500 index.

* Investors are concerned that the drop in oil prices could affect inflation. Inflation remains stubbornly below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target, even as the central bank adopts a hawkish tone regarding future rate hikes.

* Economic data on Thursday is expected to show jobless claims for last week increased by 3,000 to 240,000, but remain at levels consistent with a tight labor market. The data is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).

* On Wednesday, the S&P 500 and Dow indexes were weighed down by falling energy shares as oil prices fell, while healthcare and tech stocks helped lift the Nasdaq.

* Oracle’s shares were up 10 percent at $50.98 in premarket trading as the business software maker forecast an upbeat current-quarter profit.

* Staples was up 7.3 percent at $9.30 after Reuters reported that private equity firm Sycamore Partners was in advanced talks to acquire the company in a deal that could top $6 billion.

* U.S.-listed shares of Novartis were up 2.27 percent at $84.43 after its drug designed to reduce inflammation showed surprising efficacy in cutting cardiovascular risk for people who had survived a heart attack.

Futures snapshot at 7:05 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were down 13 points, or 0.06 percent, with 16,557 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 1.75 points, or 0.07 percent, with 113,089 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 3.75 points, or 0.06 percent, on volume of 29,286 contracts. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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