May 24, 2017 / 11:39 AM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures little changed ahead of Fed minutes

* Futures: Dow 3 pts, S&P off 0.5 pts, Nasdaq up 5.75 pts

By Tanya Agrawal

May 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday ahead of the Federal Reserve releasing the minutes of its May meeting that will help investors gauge the chances of a rate hike next month.

* The minutes will be released at 2 p.m. ET (1600 GMT) and Fed funds futures show that traders now see a 75 percent chance that the U.S. central bank will raise interest rates in June.

* “Our U.S. economists expect the minutes to come down on the hawkish side and continue to expect the Fed to hike in June and September and announce balance sheet reduction in December,” Citi analysts wrote on Wednesday.

* While recent economic data has been mixed with signs of a dip in consumer sentiment and spending, the job market continues to strengthen, which could the Fed impetus to continue with its path of monetary tightening.

* The tightening labor market and historically low mortgage rates have helped the housing market recovery. Amid a raft of housing data due is a report that is expected to show existing home sales fell in April, compared with March.

* Shares of Lowe’s fell 4.4 percent to $78.75 in premarket trading after the No. 2 U.S. home improvement chain reported a lower-than-expected profit and comparable sales. Bigger rival Home Depot was off 0.4 percent.

* Nvidia rose 3.3 percent to $141.50 on a report that SoftBank has built a $4 billion stake in the chipmaker.

* Bunge fell 7 percent to $76 after the grains trader said it was not in talks with Swiss mining and commodities group Glencore, following an informal approach.

* Tiffany fell 4.7 percent to $88.75 after the jewelry retailer reported a surprise drop in quarterly comparable sales.

* Wall Street ended higher on Tuesday as investors were relieved President Donald Trump’s first full budget plan was largely as expected, even if it is not expected to be approved in Congress.

* The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrials edged higher for the fourth day in a row, their longest winning streak since February. The market is near record highs on hopes that the Trump administration is going to be able to push through its pro-business agenda.

Futures snapshot at 7:04 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 3 points, or 0.01 percent, with 13,477 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 0.5 points, or 0.02 percent, with 78,759 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 5.75 points, or 0.1 percent, on volume of 16,868 contracts. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Jamie McGeever in London; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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