February 21, 2018 / 2:13 PM / 6 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open flat ahead of Fed minutes

* Fed minutes on Jan. policy meeting due at 2 pm ET

* Broadcom trims Qualcomm offer

* LendingClub drops after results

* Futures up: Dow 8 pts, S&P 3.5 pts, Nasdaq 24.25 pts (Adds comment, details, updates prices)

By Sruthi Shankar

Feb 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday ahead of the release of minutes of the Federal Reserve’s recent policy meeting that could offer clues on the pace of future interest rate hikes.

The Fed left rates unchanged at the January meeting, but investors will look for its opinion on inflation, especially after strong economic data raised concerns of an overheating economy and triggered the recent selloff.

“While the minutes may not generate quite the same response, traders will likely monitor what they say very closely for signs that policy makers are now leaning more towards three to four rate hikes this year, rather than two or three,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at online forex broker Oanda.

Investors also took stock of the latest developments in the Broadcom-Qualcomm takeover saga.

Broadcom Corp lowered its takeover offer for chipmaker Qualcomm to account for the latter’s increased offer for NXP Semiconductors NV.

Qualcomm shares fell more than 1 percent in premarket trading.

LendingClub’s shares fell more than 10 percent after the online lender posted a wider quarterly loss, while Tinder owner Match Group’s shares slipped about 4 percent after JPMorgan downgraded the stock to “neutral”.

At 8:34 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 8 points, S&P 500 e-minis rose 3.5 points and Nasdaq 100 e-minis gained 24.25 points.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yields are still near four-year highs at 2.8914.

Wall Street’s fear gauge, the CBOE Volatility index, was at 20.44, slightly above Friday’s close of 19.46.

Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said he still thinks just two interest rate hikes this year is “likely appropriate,” but signaled he is open to more if needed.

Minneapolis Fed chief Neel Kashkari is expected to speak later in the day.

The National Association of Realtors is expected to report that existing home sales increased 0.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.6 million units in January. The report is due at 10:00 am ET. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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