The financial market set to open flat, with Yellen speech awaited

February 14, 2017 09:12 AM

U.S. stocks were set to open little changed on Tuesday, with the "Trump rally" pausing ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that will be scrutinized for clues on the timing of the next interest rate hike.

While President Donald Trump's pro-business stance sparked a record-setting rally in equities, he has given scant detail on his policies, giving the Fed limited visibility on the direction of the economy.

The central bank in December projected three rate hikes this year. Currently, traders have priced in a mere 17 % chance of a rate move in March, despite a spate of strong economic data including a robust labor market and improving inflation.

Yellen starts her testimony before the Senate Banking Committee at 10:00 a.m. ET (1500 GMT).

"The market is pricing in good times ahead but the question is whether the administration is going to be able to deliver on the promises made," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

"The world listens to what Yellen has to say and her speech does have a potential to create an interesting reality check."

Dow e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.02 % at 8:27 a.m. ET, with 17,174 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 0.75 points, or 0.03 %, with 85,452 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis remained unchanged, on volume of 16,284 contracts.

Trump vowed last Thursday to make a major tax announcement soon but gave no details. Still, that was enough for investors to reignite the "Trump trade", which culminated on Monday with the S&P 500 topping $20 trillion for the first time ever.

However, the dollar slipped on Tuesday after Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn quit over allegations of having contact with Russian officials.

GM's shares jumped 4 % to $36.95 premarket after Peugeot-owner PSA Group said it is in talks to buy GM's European Opel business.

The prospects of sector consolidation caused Fiat to jump 3.3 %, while Ford gained 1.3 %.

Gilead was up 1.6 % at $68.70 after the drugmaker presented positive findings for an experimental HIV drug.

Cynosure jumped 27.8 % to $65.80 after Hologic said it would acquire the medical aesthetics company for $1.65 billion. Hologic fell 3.8 % to $38.50.

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