4 Min Read
* Oil prices have fallen 20 pct this year
* Adobe higher after forecast beats expectations
* Red Hat jumps on strong forecast
* Dow up 4 pts, S&P off 1 pt, Nasdaq up 7.5 pts (Adds details, comments, updates price)
By Sruthi Shankar
June 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open slightly higher on Wednesday as oil prices steadied but continued to hover near seven-month lows and were on track for their biggest slide in the first half of any year since 1997.
Oil has lost 20 percent in value this year as a global oversupply continues to weigh on prices despite efforts by producers to reduce output.
Brent crude and U.S. crude futures pared some losses and were up about 0.4 percent. Brent was trading at $46.18, while U.S. crude was at $43.72.
The downturn has hemorrhaged the S&P energy index, making it the worst performing sector among the 11 major indexes this year. The index fell 13.52 percent during the period, while the S&P 500 rallied 8.85 percent.
"With oil entering the so-called bearish territory, the market is looking at the negatives of lower oil prices and not necessarily the benefits of lower oil prices," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.
"If oil prices continue to move lower, obviously that would be bad for inflation or even result in disinflation."
Investors are also mindful of the impact of inflation on the pace of future interest rate hikes, with a tug-of-war between inflation and the future of financial stability playing out among the Federal Reserve's policymakers.
Dallas and Chicago Fed chiefs Robert Kaplan and Charles Evans expressed concerns regarding weak inflation, which remains stubbornly below the central bank's 2 percent target. Both Kaplan and Evans are voting members on the Fed's rate-setting committee.
However, Boston Fed head Eric Rosengren said that the era of low interest rates in the United States and elsewhere poses financial stability risks and that central bankers must factor such concerns into their decision-making.
Dow e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.02 percent, with 28,423 contracts changing hands at 8:29 a.m. ET (1229 GMT).
S&P 500 e-minis were down 1 points, or 0.04 percent, with 185,742 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7.5 points, or 0.13 percent, on volume of 46,814 contracts.
U.S. stocks closed lower on Tuesday, hurt by a sharp drop in oil prices while retail stocks were pulled down by concerns about Amazon.com's plan to boost its apparel business and a rebound in tech stocks petered out.
The S&P technology sector, the main driver of the S&P's rally this year, has been hit by concerns over valuation and investors' move into more defensive sectors.
Among stocks, Adobe Systems was up 4.4 percent at $147.11 in premarket trading after the software forecast current-quarter above analysts' estimates.
Red Hat jumped 10.7 percent to $99.61 after the Linux operating system distributor's second-quarter forecast came in above expectations, prompting a slew of price target lifts by brokerages.
Advanced Micro Devices was up about 5.8 percent at $13.37 after it launched a new family of data center processors. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)