* Traders see 91 pct chance of rate hike
* Retail sales post biggest drop in 16 months in May
* Dow hits record intraday high
* Indexes up: Dow 0.04 pct, S&P 0.02 pct, Nasdaq 0.03 pct
(Updates to open)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
June 14 U.S. stocks pared gains to trade little
changed on Wednesday as a set of weak economic data weighed on
bank stocks, while investors braced for a near-certain interest
rate hike by the Federal Reserve.
Traders have placed a 91 percent chance of the central bank
pulling the trigger on a second rate increase this year. The
hike will push interest rates above 1 percent for the first time
since the immediate aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers
Investors will also be looking for any details on the Fed's
plans to trim its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.
"It's a Fed day and the markets will likely not blink an eye
as the FOMC raises rates by 25 basis points," said Peter
Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in
At 9:45 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was
up 9.23 points, or 0.04 percent, at 21,337.7. The index had hit
a record intraday high of 21,354.56 shortly after the open.
The S&P 500 was up 0.53 points, or 0.02 percent, at
2,440.88 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.88 points, or
0.03 percent, at 6,222.24.
The S&P 500 financials sector dropped 0.9 percent
after the release of weaker-than-expected U.S. CPI and retail
The data also pressured the dollar index, which fell
to its lowest since Nov. 9. However, defensive sectors such as
Energy shares, which have risen in the past three
sessions, were off 0.74 percent.
A gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress
during a baseball practice near Washington on Wednesday,
wounding several people including House of Representatives
Majority Whip Steve Scalise, according to police and media
However, Cardillo said the market seemed "unfazed" by the
Johnson & Johnson rose 0.6 percent at $132.76 after
the company's flu drug succeeded in a mid-stage trial. The
stocks provided the biggest boost to the S&P and the Dow.
Facebook, Mircosoft and Alphabet,
which had been hit hard by a selloff in the tech sector earlier
this week, rose for the second straight day.
H&R Block rose 8.8 percent to $29.39 after the tax
preparation service provider's fourth-quarter revenue and profit
beat analysts' expectations.
Aldeyra Therapeutics dropped 16 percent to $4.30
after the company said it failed to meet a goal in its
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,356
to 1,247. On the Nasdaq, 1,345 issues fell and 979 advanced.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by