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* Qualcomm plunges after U.S. judge rules against co’s practices
* Lowe’s, Nordstrom fall after disappointing FY forecasts
* Fed’s minutes from April meeting due at 2:00 pm ET
* Futures off: Dow 0.37%, S&P 0.43%, Nasdaq 0.67% (Adds comment, updates prices)
By Shreyashi Sanyal
May 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were on track to open lower on Wednesday, as fears resurfaced of a possible escalation in the trade war between the United States and China following reports that Washington could impose sanctions on another Chinese company.
The reports come after Washington’s decision to temporarily ease curbs on Huawei Technologies allayed investors concerns on Tuesday over a hit to the global technology sector from the Trump administration’s decision last week to add the Chinese telecoms equipment maker to a trade blacklist.
However, sentiment soured on reports of similar restrictions on Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision.
“What investors are looking at is the fact that this could be another retaliation,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners in Pittsburgh. “The negotiations have been more of a tit for tat than actual conversation.”
The back-and-forth between the United States and China has kept investors on edge and has knocked the benchmark S&P 500 index 3% off its all-time high hit on May 1.
Markets also waited for minutes from the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting in late April when it held interest rates steady. The minutes are due at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT).
Fed’s St. Louis chief James Bullard, a voter in the rate-setting committee this year, said on Wednesday further weakness in inflation could prompt the central bank to cut rates, even if economic growth maintains its momentum.
At 8:41 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 95 points, or 0.37%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 12.25 points, or 0.43%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 49.75 points, or 0.67%.
Among stocks, Qualcomm Inc slumped 12.2% premarket after a federal judge ruled that the chipmaker unlawfully suppressed competition in the market for cellphone chips and used its dominant position to exact excessive licensing fees.
Retailers wrapped up the first-quarter earnings season on a low note, with Lowe’s Cos Inc falling 9.1% after the home improvement chain cut its full-year profit forecast.
Nordstrom Inc declined 10.1% after the department store operator reduced its forecast for full-year sales and profit, a day after disappointing earnings from rivals Kohl’s Corp and J.C. Penney Co Inc.
Among the bright spots was retailer Target Corp, which jumped 7% after its quarterly same-store sales and profit beat Wall Street estimates. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)