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Wall St. points to muted open ahead of bank earnings; Yellen, CPI data eyed

Stock MarketsJan 18, 2017 05:37AM ET
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© Reuters. Wall St. points to flat open

Investing.com - U.S. stock markets pointed to a muted open on Wednesday morning, as investors awaited a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen for fresh clues about the timing of the next rate hike.

Investors also looked ahead to U.S. inflation data at 8:30AM ET (13:30GMT).

The blue-chip Dow futures inched up 14 points, or less than 0.1%, by 5:35AM ET (10:35GMT), the S&P 500 futures tacked on 2 points, or 0.1%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures added 6 points, or 0.1%.

U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday, with financials, transports and other big post-election gainers losing ground as investors geared up for President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday, for any clarity on his economic plans.

Fed Chair Yellen is due to speak on the economy and monetary policy at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco at 3:00PM ET (20:00GMT).

The Fed had indicated in December that at least three rate increases were in the offing for 2017, according to a forecast of interest rates from members of the central bank, known as the dot-plot.

However, traders remained unconvinced. Instead, markets are pricing in just two rate hikes during the course of this year, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

On the data front, the Commerce Department will publish December inflation figures, amid expectations for a gain of 0.3%, while core inflation is forecast to increase 0.2%.

On a yearly base, consumer prices are projected to climb 2.1%, rising above the 2%-threshold for the first time in two years.

Besides the inflation data, the U.S. will release data on industrial production and capacity utilization at 9:15AM ET (13:15GMT). The NAHB housing index is due at 10:00AM ET (15:00GMT), while the Fed's Beige Book expected at 2:00PM ET (19:00GMT).

Meanwhile, in earnings news, Citigroup (NYSE:C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), US Bancorp (NYSE:USB), Northern Trust (NASDAQ:NTRS) and Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) all report ahead of Wednesday's opening bell. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Canadian Pacific (NYSE:CP) are due after the close.

Elsewhere, European stock markets wavered between small gains and losses, as investors sifted through corporate updates while continuing to digest British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plans.

In Asia, markets ended mixed, with the Shanghai Composite in China closing up 0.1%, while Japan's Nikkei inched up around 0.4%.

In the currency market, the dollar edged higher against the yen, euro and pound, recovering from the prior session's sharp selloff which took the greenback to a six-week low.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.4% at 100.64. The index slumped to 100.23 on Tuesday, the weakest since December 8.

Meanwhile, oil prices lost ground as investors await a monthly report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties for further evidence that crude producers are adhering to planned output cuts.

U.S. crude was down 83 cents, or around 1.5%, to $51.66, while Brent fell 82 cents, or 1.5%, to $54.66 a barrel.

Wall St. points to muted open ahead of bank earnings; Yellen, CPI data eyed
 

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