February 14, 2017 / 12:29 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures flat as Yellen speech awaited for rate hike clues

* Futures: Dow down 2 pts, S&P down 0.25 pts, Nasdaq up 0.25 pts

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Feb 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were flat on Tuesday, a day after Wall Street hit record highs and ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, which will be scrutinized for the central bank’s plan on the timing of interest rate hikes.

* While President Donald Trump’s pro-business stance sparked a record-setting rally in equities, he has given scant detail on his policies, giving the Fed limited visibility on the direction of the economy.

* The central bank in December projected three rate hikes this year.

* Currently, traders have priced in a mere 17 percent chance of a rate move in March, despite a spate of strong economic data including a robust labor market and improving inflation.

* Yellen gives a semiannual testimony before the Senate Banking Committee at 10:00 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) in Washington, facing lawmakers for the first time since Republicans won control of both houses of Congress and the presidency.

* Trump vowed last Thursday to make a major tax announcement soon, but gave no details. Still, that was enough for investors to reignite the “Trump trade”, which culminated on Monday with the S&P 500 topping $20 trillion for the first time ever.

* However, the dollar slipped on Tuesday after Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn quit over allegations of having contact with Russian officials.

* Shares of General Motors rose 3.4 percent to $36.74 premarket after Reuters reported Peugeot-owner PSA Group in talks to combine with GM’s European Opel business. Shares of Fiat and Ford also rose.

* Gilead was up 0.95 percent after the drugmaker presented positive findings for an experimental HIV drug.

* A report on the producer price index for January is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET.

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

* Dow e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.01 percent, with 15,157 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 0.25 points, or 0.01 percent, with 69,054 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 0.25 points, or 0 percent, on volume of 13,969 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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