Victor ReklaitisU.S. stock futures were locked in a holding pattern with just a few hours to go before a much-anticipated address by Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YMU6, +0.01% shed 2 points, or less than 0.1%, to 18,446, while S&P 500 futures ESU6, +0.02% inched up by 0.15 point to 2,173.75. Nasdaq-100 futures NQU6, -0.04% fell 2.75 points, or 0.1%, to 4,779.50.
In a speech scheduled for 10 a.m. Eastern Time, Yellen may signal the Fed is ready to raise interest rates next month. Some analysts are sounding downbeat ahead of her address in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
“Today’s Jackson Hole gathering could be quite critical, with expectations heightened over if Yellen will provide clarity on when the Fed may break the trend of central bank caution,” said Lukman Otunuga, an analyst at FXTM, in a note.
“If there is a further disconnect between markets and the Fed then jitter and risk aversion could leave stocks vulnerable to heavy losses,” he added.
Read more: Yellen to say ‘ready’ for another rate hike in Jackson Hole
And see: Fed might hike interest rates despite market objections
On Thursday, the S&P 500 SPX, -0.14% closed 0.1% lower, while the Dow DJIA, -0.18% shed 0.2%, as investors seemed reluctant to make big bets on the eve of the Fed chairwoman’s speech. The S&P is down 0.5% for the week, as of Thursday’s close, and the Dow is 0.6% lower.
Individual movers: Shares in Herbalife Ltd. HLF, +1.01% could make moves following news that billionaire investor Carl Icahn has recently discussed selling his stake in the nutritional-products company to a group including Herbalife’s arch-nemesis Bill Ackman.
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV BUD, -0.06% ABI, +0.58% warned Friday its beer megamerger with SABMiller PLC SAB, +0.07% could lead to thousands of job losses in the coming years. The Budweiser producer’s U.S. listed shares rose 0.9% in premarket action.
Software company Splunk Inc. SPLK, +1.35% , beauty products sellerUlta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. ULTA, -0.92% and video game retailerGameStop Corp. GME, +1.42% all look on track for down days after each company’s stock suffered an earnings-driven drop late Thursday.
Other markets: Oil futures SPLK, +1.35% traded lower, hurting sentiment. European stocks SXXP, -0.08% largely edged down, while Asia closed mixed. Gold futures GCZ6, +0.34% inched higher, and a key dollar index DXY, -0.07% retreated.
Other economic reports: Before Yellen nears the microphones, a couple of U.S. economic reports are slated to hit.
At 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, investors are due to get a second-quarter reading on U.S. gross domestic product. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect growth of 1.1%, compared with the preliminary print of 1.2%. Also at that time, a July report on advance trade in goods is due, with forecasts calling for a deficit of $62.5 billion.
At 10 a.m. Eastern as Yellen speaks, an August figure for a consumer-sentiment gauge is expected to come in at 91.0.