July 7, 2016 / 11:27 AM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Futures flat as investors brace for economic data

* Futures down: Dow 14 pts, S&P 3 pts, Nasdaq 3.75 pts

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

July 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday as investors awaited a host economic data that would provide clues on the strength of the economy and determine whether the Federal Reserve would be able to raise interest rates this year.

* After a roller-coaster ride sparked by Britain’s June 23 vote to leave the European Union, investors in the United States are looking for signs of the health of the economy and the possible impact of the vote on quarterly earnings.

* Investors will keenly watch for the June payrolls report on Friday, especially after a shockingly weak May report threw the Fed off track from its plans to raise interest rates in the near term.

* U.S. economic data in the past weeks, including manufacturing and services data, have been mixed.

* While the cautious Fed is not expected to raise interest rates anytime soon, strong economic data will give the central banks reasons for its next move when it meets on July 26-27.

* The ADP national employment report for June is expected at 8:15 a.m. ET (1215 GMT) on Thursday. The data, which acts as a precursor to Friday’s report, is likely to show that 159,000 jobs were added in the month, compared to 173,000 in May.

* Initial jobless claims data for the week ended July is expected to show an increase of 2,000. The report is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET.

* Investors are also getting ready for second-quarter earnings, which are expected to fall 3.9 percent from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data. First-quarter earnings had fallen 5 percent.

* Oil prices rose for the second straight day as U.S. crude oil inventories fell and the dollar weakened.

* However, the rally in gold prices continued and U.S. Treasury bond yields were still under pressure indicating a weak appetite for risk.

* Wall Street closed higher on Wednesday as investors cheered the Fed’s comments which indicated that it would not raise rates soon and strong U.S. data pointed at some economic improvement amid global glum.

* PepsiCo’s shares rose 2.2 percent to $108.20 in premarket trading, after reporting a second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimate.

* Whitewave Foods jumped 19 percent to $56.45 after Danone said it would buy the organic food maker for $12.5 billion, including debt.

Futures snapshot at 6:59 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were down 14 points, or 0.08 percent, with 18,894 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 3 points, or 0.14 percent, with 158,485 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 3.75 points, or 0.08 percent, on volume of 18,295 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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