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Market: US stocks to open lower ahead of Fed minutes

US futures are trading lower, pointing to a lower open in the stocks today, after ending yesterday in the negative territory. Investors remain cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s January meeting minutes and concerns over interest-rate hike.

The S&P futures tumbled 0.17% to 2,709.50, Dow futures fell 0.20% to 24,898 and Nasdaq slid 0.04% to 6,787.50. Elsewhere, shares at Asian markets closed mostly higher on Wednesday, while European stocks are losing ground after weak Eurozone private sector data.

On February 20, US ended lower, with Dow down 1.01% to 24,964.75, Nasdaq tumbled 0.07% to 7,234.31 and the S&P 500 fell 0.58% to 2,716.26. The near-term outlook for the markets remained uncertain as expressed by a few traders and investors.

The Fed is scheduled to release the minutes from its January meeting. Traders and investors are expecting the minutes to include new insights on inflation or interest rates, which could have more impact than usual. There is also be focus on what the new Fed Chair Jerome Powell will say with regard to his semi-annual speech on the economy at Congress next week.

Meanwhile, other key economic data that will be released today include mortgage applications, composite purchasing managers’ index and existing homes sales. The Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and Philadelphia Fed Patrick Harker are scheduled to deliver speeches.

On the corporate front, Walmart shares rose 0.44% in the premarket after recovering from yesterday’s sell-off, which came due to the company’s fourth quarter earnings that missed the street expectations. LendingClub Corp stock plunged more than 11% in the premarket after its fourth quarter results missed street expectations. Foot Locker’s shares could show some movement after a dividend hike.

LendingClub Corp stock plunged more than 11% in the premarket after its fourth quarter results missed street expectations.

On the earnings front, Dish Network, Wendy’s Co., Advance Auto Parts, Avis Budget Group, Delphi Technologies, Garmin, Boston Beer, Cheesecake Factory, Pandora Media and Roku are the key companies due to release their earnings today.

Crude oil future is down 0.73% to $61.34. The decline is ahead of the US inventory release that is likely to show a rise in crude oil reserve for the week ended February 16.

Gold is trading down 0.03% to $1,330.80, and silver is down 0.32% to $16.39. On the currency front, the US dollar is trading up 0.14% at 107.4596 yen. Against the euro, the dollar is down 0.15% to $1.2315. Against the pound, the dollar is down 0.56% to $1.3916.

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