May 10, 2018 / 11:47 AM / 6 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures little changed ahead of inflation data

* Futures: Dow off 8 pts, S&P up 1.75 pts, Nasdaq up 8.5 pts

By Sruthi Shankar

May 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were flat on Thursday after three days of oil-powered gains on Wall Street as investors waited for the latest reading on U.S. consumer prices.

Oil prices were on track for their biggest weekly increase in a month on expectations of potential disruption to crude flows from major exporter Iran after the United States abandoned a nuclear deal with the country and re-imposed sanctions.

Rising oil prices have helped the S&P 500 energy index outperform other major sectors in the quarter with gains of 12.6 percent.

At the same time, it has fanned worries of rising costs for companies that could make products and services more expensive.

A Labor Department report is expected to show consumer prices index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in April after slipping 0.1 percent in March. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The core CPI, which strips out the volatile food and energy components, is forecast to have risen 0.2 percent in April, pushing up the year-over-year increase to 2.2 percent.

Data on Wednesday showed U.S. producer prices rose less than expected, held back by a moderation in the cost of services such as hotel accommodation and healthcare.

While a June interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve is fully priced in, odds of a fourth rate hike in December stands at 41.4 percent, according to the CME Group’s Fedwatch tool.

Fed officials have said rising inflation and wage pressures are not enough yet to prompt a change in the central bank’s rate outlook.

At 7:12 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 8 points, or 0.03 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.75 points, or 0.06 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 8.5 points, or 0.12 percent.

Among stocks, Qualcomm edged 2.2 percent higher after the chipmaker approved a new $10 billion share buyback program that replaces the previous $15 billion program.

Macy’s dropped 3.3 percent after Morgan Stanley downgraded the retailer’s stock to “underweight”.

Roku jumped more than 7 percent after the TV streaming device maker reported a smaller-than-feared quarterly loss, while its revenue beat estimates. Its shares were the most traded premarket. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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