July 5, 2017 / 1:02 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher ahead of Fed minutes

* Fed minutes expected at 2 p.m. ET

* Oil falls more than 1 pct on rising OPEC exports

* Baidu higher after TomTom partnership deal

* Futures up: Dow 8 pts, S&P 3.25 pts, Nasdaq 15.25 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Tanya Agrawal

July 5 (Reuters) - Wall Street looked set to open higher on Wednesday as investors awaited minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting for more clues on interest rate hikes this year.

The Fed, which lifted interest rates and unveiled details of its plan to cut its mammoth crisis-era bond portfolio at its mid-June meeting, will release minutes at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT).

A recent set of tepid economic data and an inflation rate below the central bank’s 2 percent target may have a bearing on its rate hike plans.

“Markets will also be paying very close attention to see if the minutes suggest that the recent fall in inflation is ‘transitory’, with suggestions of higher rates still on the cards, unless the U.S. economy decelerates,” said Lukman Otunuga, analyst with FXTN Research.

Adding to investor concerns are weak oil prices. Crude oil was down more than 1 percent on Wednesday as rising OPEC exports turned sentiment more bearish.

U.S. factory goods orders are likely to drop 0.5 percent in May, compared with a 0.2 percent decline in April. The data is expected at 10 a.m. ET.

Investors will also be keeping an eye on the monthly employment report due Friday for signs on the health of the labor market.

Dow e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.04 percent, with 54,998 contracts changing hands at 8:25 a.m. ET.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 3.25 points, or 0.13 percent, with 277,789 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 15.25 points, or 0.27 percent, on volume of 90,108 contracts.

The S&P 500 and the Dow moved higher on Monday, with the Dow hitting an intraday record as energy and bank stocks gained, but the Nasdaq was pulled lower by tech stocks. The market was shut on Tuesday for Independence Day holiday.

Tech stocks have led the S&P’s record run this year as investors look for growth but concerns over the sector’s valuation has investors moving to more defensive sectors.

Shares of Baidu were up 3.4 percent in premarket trading after the Chinese internet search company struck a deal with TomTom to develop high-definition digital maps used for computer-assisted driving.

Monogram Residential Trust jumped 22 percent after a Greystar fund said it would buy the luxury apartment developer in a deal valued at about $3 billion. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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