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US STOCKS-Futures flat; White House turmoil, N. Korea in focus
August 21, 2017 / 11:40 AM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Futures flat; White House turmoil, N. Korea in focus

* Futures down: Dow 2 pts, S&P 0.25 pts, Nasdaq 4.25 pts

By Sruthi Shankar

Aug 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were flat on Monday, with investors keeping an eye on the White House as well as the tension between the United States and North Korea – themes that have affected the market the most in the past two weeks.

* Wall Street ended lower on Friday following a White House-focused week that raised more questions about the Trump administration’s ability to implement its pro-growth agenda.

* Those concerns led the S&P 500 to close roughly 1 percent below its 50-day moving average, the furthest below that key technical measure since mid-April, and the closest to its 200-day moving average since the election.

* President Donald Trump fired chief strategist Steve Bannon on Friday, known as an economic nationalist and an advocate of “America First” policies, in the latest shakeup of his administration.

* The news followed a series of White House-focused events, including Trump’s disbanding of some business councils and speculation about the possible departure of National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

* While geopolitical tensions seem to have eased between the United States and North Korea, South Korean and U.S. forces began computer-simulated military exercises on Monday.

* The U.S. stock market’s steady rise, low long-term bond yields and a sagging dollar are girding the Federal Reserve’s intent to raise interest rates again this year despite concerns about weak inflation, according to comments from Fed officials and analysts.

* Fed Chair Janet Yellen could shed more light on the Fed’s position later this week at the annual get-together of top central bankers from around the world in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

* Among stock, Nike’s shares were down 1.16 percent in premarket trading after Jefferies downgraded the stock to “hold” from “buy” and cut its price target by $15 to $60.

* NYSE-listed shares of Fiat Chrysler were up 3.10 percent after China’s Great Wall Motor said it was interested in bidding for the Italian-American carmaker.

Futures snapshot at 7:03 a.m. ET (1103 GMT):

* Dow e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.01 percent, with 22,964 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 0.25 points, or 0.01 percent, with 173,703 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 4.25 points, or 0.07 percent, on volume of 28,678 contracts. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)

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