By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica
Wal-Mart tumbles, Best Buy higher after results
U.S. stock futures were little changed on Thursday, following comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who said that an interest-rate hike could come "relatively soon."
Although rates were still expected to rise in December, some investors have speculated on the possibility of a delay following the unexpected election of Donald Trump, which injected a measure of uncertainty.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 4 points to 18,829, while S&P 500 index futures gained 1.20 points to 2,174. Slightly stronger, Nasdaq-100 futures added 9.75, or 0.2%, to4,793.
The Dow was pressured by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), which fell in premarket trading following weaker-than-expected sales (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wal-mart-shares-fall-after-revenue-miss-2016-11-17).
A postelection rally for financial stocks hit pause on Wednesday, as the Dow industrials broke a seven-session winning streak. The DJIA closed 0.3% lower, while the S&P 500 index eased 0.2% on Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index closed 0.4% higher.
The ICE Dollar Index , which measures the currency against a basket of six rivals, was moving lower, hovering at 100, after tapping a 13-month high on Wednesday. Among the gainers, the British pound briefly hit $1.25 against the dollar after stronger-than-expected U.K. retail sales data.
Need to know:Carl Icahn says dial back on stocks, as Trump rally looks overdone (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/carl-icahn-says-dial-back-on-stocks-as-trump-rally-looks-overdone-2016-11-17)
(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-transition-teams-incoherence-could-torpedo-market-rally-2016-11-16)Yellen speaks: Markets may move further on Yellen when she testifies to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. Yellen's Capitol Hill appearance comes almost a month ahead of the central bank's Dec. 13-14 meeting.
Read:What to watch in Yellen's testimony (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-to-watch-in-yellens-testimony-2016-11-16)
"We believe that investors will be looking for clues as to whether Yellen shares the view expressed by Fed's Lacker and Harker recently, that increased fiscal stimulus will likely lead to a faster pace of future rate increases," Charalambos Pissouros, senior analyst at IronFX told clients in a note.
Pissouros said Yellen is likely to instead "maintain a balanced stance." She could hint that inflation due to fiscal stimulus could lead tofaster rate increases, but would pair that with the opinion more information is needed before the Fed can re-evaluate its interest-rate outlook, he said.
Such comments, though, will likely keep the dollar's rally alive, Pissouros said.
In other Fed appearances, Gov. Lael Brainard will give a speech about "the evolution of work" at the New York Fed at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. New York Fed President William Dudley will speak at two events in New York, at 8:50 a.m. Eastern, then again at 9:10 a.m. Eastern.
Read:Bond guru Bill Gross says Trump voters will suffer most from election (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bond-guru-bill-gross-says-trump-voters-will-suffer-most-from-election-result-2016-11-16)
Stocks to watch:Best Buy Co. Inc (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/best-buys-stock-soars-after-results-and-profit-outlook-beat-expectations-2016-11-17).(BBY) surged over 7% in premarket after results and profit beat forecasts.Staples Inc (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/staples-quarterly-earnings-meet-expectations-but-sales-miss-wall-streets-target-2016-11-17). was unchanged after sales missed analysts expectations.
Tesoro Corp.(TSO) said it would buy Western Refining Inc.(WNR) in a deal worth around $4.1 billion on Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesoro-to-buy-western-refining-for-41-billion-2016-11-17).
Gap Inc (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gap-earnings-a-facility-fire-has-near-term-benefits-2016-11-16).(GPS), Salesforce.com Inc (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-to-expect-when-salesforce-reports-earnings-2016-11-15).(CRM) and Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) will report after the closing bell.
Other markets: Equities were subdued in Asia (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-slip-as-oil-prices-fall-2016-11-16) and Europe (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-struggle-for-direction-with-ecb-minutes-on-deck-2016-11-17). Gold prices rose moderately, up 0.2%.
Crude prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-pull-back-after-another-jump-in-us-supply-2016-11-17) shot 1.3% higher after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih reportedly made upbeat comments (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/saudi-deal-optimism-sparks-rebound-for-oil-prices-2016-11-17) in a television interview about a production-cut deal at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Nov. 30.
Pressure appeared to be easing on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield , after Treasury prices rose Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/treasury-yields-on-rise-for-7th-straight-session-2016-11-16), snapping a six-session losing streak.
Opinion: Trump transition team turmoil could torpedo market rally (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-transition-teams-incoherence-could-torpedo-market-rally-2016-11-16)
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 17, 2016 08:28 ET (13:28 GMT)
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