August 24, 2018 / 11:38 AM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures higher, Powell speech in focus

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* Futures up: Dow 0.23 pct, S&P 0.20 pct, Nasdaq 0.27 pct

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Aug 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday, as investors awaited a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for clues on the direction of monetary policy.

Powell is set to speak at 10 a.m. ET (1400 GMT) at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, conference of central bankers, where he is widely expected to signal more interest rate hikes.

The Fed is expected to raise rates in September and once more by the end of the year. But President Donald Trump earlier this week said he was “not thrilled” by rate increases and has asked the Fed to do more to help him boost the economy.

Economists expect U.S. economic growth to slow steadily in coming quarters after touching a four-year high in April-June due to trade disputes, a Reuters poll showed.

Wall Street has sputtered in the past two days as the United States and China slapped fresh tariffs on each other and ended latest negotiations with no major breakthrough.

At 7:16 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 58 points, or 0.23 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.75 points, or 0.2 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 20 points, or 0.27 percent.

Shares of Autodesk climbed 8.6 percent before the bell after the software maker topped revenue and profit estimates, helped by strength in its subscription business.

HP Inc dropped 2.6 percent after the computer and printer maker reported disappointing margins in its printer business.

Gap Inc fell 6.9 percent after the apparel retailer’s namesake brand reported a bigger-than-expected drop in same-store sales.

Ross Stores slid 4.4 percent on concerns about the off-price retailer’s operating margins and an unchanged forecast for the rest of the year.

The Commerce Department’s seasonally adjusted data on durable goods orders for July is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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