3 Min Read
* Futures down: Dow 9 pts, S&P 2.25 pts, Nasdaq 2 pts
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
March 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Monday as investors braced for an action-packed week headlined by an all-but-certain interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.
* The Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed's policy-setting board, is expected to lift interest rates by a quarter point to 0.75 percent-1.00 percent.
* A blowout monthly jobs number on Friday underscored the strength of the U.S. labor market and that the economy could absorb a rate hike.
* Traders have placed a 94 percent bet that Fed Chair Janet Yellen will announce an increase after a two-day meeting on Wednesday. Investors will be watching out for clues if the Fed could become more aggressive as the economy shows signs of improvement.
* The dollar, which tends to strengthen as rate climb, was up for the first time in three days, but prices of safe-haven gold also rose due to uncertainty ahead of elections in Europe.
* Wall Street ended higher on Friday but the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq snapped a six-week winning streak as worries about valuations and the lack of detail on President Donald Trump's policy proposals threw a wrinkle in a post-election rally.
* Oil prices could keep the market under pressure on Monday, as U.S. crude hit a more than three-month low of $48.31 on rising inventories.
* Shares of Mobileye soared 34.33 percent to $63.50 in heavy premarket trading after chipmaker Intel said it would buy the driving assistant software maker for about $15.3 billion in equity value. Intel's shares were marginally lower, while shares other U.S. chipmakers rose slightly.
* Dow component Boeing was down 1.5 percent at $176 following a Morgan Stanley downgrade of the planemaker's stock to "equal-weight" from "overweight".
* IT research and advisory firm Gartner rose 5.8 percent to $112.17 after RBC said the stock was its "top pick" among those it rated "outperform".
Futures snapshot at 7:01 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were down 9 points, or 0.04 percent, with 3,868 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 2.25 points, or 0.09 percent, with 81,663 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.04 percent, on volume of 4,552 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)