* Yellen to give congressional testimony at 10:00 a.m. ET
* Jan retail sales top estimates, consumer price index up
* P&G gains on Trian stake; airlines rise on Berkshire stake
* Futures: Dow up 2 pts, S&P down 5 pts, Nasdaq down 9.75
(Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Feb 15 U.S. stocks were set to open slightly
lower on Wednesday, after a recent spate of record highs, as
investors assessed upbeat economic data that strengthened the
prospect of an interest rate hike.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday, before
the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, that delaying a rate hike
would be unwise, but did not indicate when the Fed would raise
While she painted a largely upbeat picture of the economy,
she also expressed uncertainty over economic policy under the
Yellen's testimony before the House Financial Services
Committee on Wednesday will be scrutinized for further clues on
when the central bank might pull the trigger, as will be
comments by three Fed presidents at other scheduled appearances.
Some Fed officials have said it would be prudent to move
sooner than later, but traders have priced in a slim chance of a
rate hike at the Fed's March meeting.
"Yellen's hawkish stand yesterday was well received as
investors focused on the upbeat assessment of the economy,"
Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard
Financial wrote in a note.
Adding to the recent spate of strong data, reports on
Wednesday showed retail sales rose much more than expected last
month, while the consumer price index notched its biggest rise
in nearly four years as households paid more for gasoline and
Dow e-minis were up 2 points, or 0.01 percent at
8:57 a.m. ET, with 30,047 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were down 5 points, or 0.21 percent,
with 136,215 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 9.25 points, or 0.18
percent, on volume of 24,669 contracts.
Wall Street's main indexes have closed at record highs for
the past four sessions, sparked by President Donald Trump's
promise on Thursday of a major tax announcement and fueled by
"While the rise continues to feed on itself, a prudent
approach of not fighting the tape should be accompanied by being
cautious," Cardillo said.
Among stocks, Dow component Procter & Gamble rose 2.5
percent to $90.05 after activist investor Trian Fund disclosed a
$3.5 billion stake in the consumer products company.
AIG slipped nearly 5 percent to $63.55 after the
commercial insurer reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly
Shares of Southwest, United Continental,
American Airlines rose more than 2 percent after Warren
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reported investments
topping $2.1 billion in each of the carriers.
Watchmaker Fossil dropped 19 percent to $18.51
after posting fourth-quarter revenue that missed analysts'
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by