S&P, Dow futures flat as Fed minutes awaited

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The S&P and the Dow futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors awaited minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting for clues on interest rate hikes.

* However, futures pointed to a lower open for the Nasdaq following Tuesday’s Independence Day holiday, due to weakness in the technology sector.

* The Fed, which lifted interest rates and unveiled details of its plan to cut its mammoth crisis-era bond portfolio at its mid-June meeting, will release minutes at 2 p.m. ET (1600 GMT).

* The central bank is projected to raise rates once more this year though investors are concerned about the recent set of tepid economic data and inflation, which remains below the 2 percent target.

* Falling oil prices have also added to concerns about low inflation. Crude oil was down more than 1 percent on Wednesday as rising OPEC exports turned sentiment more bearish.

* U.S. factory goods orders are likely to drop by 0.5 percent for May from a 0.2 percent fall in April. The data is expected at 10 a.m. ET.

* The S&P 500 and the Dow moved higher on Monday, with the Dow hitting an intraday record as energy and bank stocks gained, but the Nasdaq was pulled lower by tech stocks.

* Tech stocks have led the S&P’s record run this year but concerns over the sector’s valuation has investors moving to more defensive sectors.

* Shares of Apple (AAPL.O), Microsoft (MSFT.O), Alphabet (GOOGL.O) and Facebook (FB.O) were all lower in premarket trading.

Futures snapshot at 7:02 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 9 points, or 0.04 percent, with 52,234 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 1.75 points, or 0.07 percent, with 254,708 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were down 13.5 points, or 0.24 percent, on volume of 80,152 contracts.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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