US futures little changed


New York - US stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday after the S&P 500 notched two straight days of gains and ahead of the release of minutes from the most recent meeting of the Federal Reserve.

* Investors will peruse the Fed minutes, which will be released at 2:00 p.m. (20:00 SA time), for clues on how soon the central bank plans to hike interest rates.

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The US bourse is set to open higher as European leaders get ready to meet.

At a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee in July, the Fed had trimmed its monthly bond-buying program by an additional $10 billion (R107 billion).

* An annual meeting of top central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, from Thursday through Saturday will also be eyed for possible insight into the path for US monetary policy.

* The benchmark S&P 500 closed Tuesday within 10 points of its all-time intraday high of 1,991.39 reached on July 24, while the Nasdaq Composite extended gains and ended the session at yet another 14-year high.

* Lowe's Companies lost 3.1 percent to $49.91 before the opening bell after the world's No. 2 home improvement products retailer posted better-than-expected second quarter results but cut its full-year sales forecast.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 0.25 point and fair value - a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract - indicated a flat open.

Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures lost 1 point and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 1.25 points.

* Hertz Global Holdings tumbled 14.5 percent to $27 in premarket trading after the rental car company withdrew its full-year financial forecast and said it expects 2014 results to be “well below” its previous guidance due to business challenges and costs.

* Amicus Therapeutics shares surged 24 percent to $5.67 in premarket trading after the company said its experimental drug was as effective as enzyme replacement therapies (ERTs) for patients with Fabry disease, a disorder that leads to the abnormal build-up of fat.

* European shares dipped after a sharp two-day rally, with investors rattled after Carlsberg issued a profit warning, blaming deteriorating conditions in Russia.

* Asian stocks were steady after strong US housing data lifted Wall Street shares. - Reuters

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