* Dollar down, erases post-election gains
* Bank stocks fall; gold and VIX futures rise
* Target up on smaller drop in comparable sales
* Futures down: Dow 106 pts, S&P 13 pts, Nasdaq 32.5 pts
(Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
May 17 U.S. stocks were set to open lower on
Wednesday after reports of a leaked memo by former FBI chief
James Comey caused alarm on Capitol Hill, raising questions
about whether President Donald Trump tried to interfere with a
Trump asked Comey to end a probe into former national
security adviser Michael Flynn's ties with Russia, according to
The latest development could distract Trump from pursuing
his proposed policies such as tax cuts and simpler bank
regulations, which have underpinned a record-setting rally on
The news comes on the heels of a tumultuous week at the
White House when Trump unexpectedly fired Comey and then
disclosed classified information to Russia's foreign minister
about a planned Islamic State operation.
The dollar index retreated on Wednesday, erasing all
of the gains inspired by Trump's business-friendly stance after
his November election victory. The euro hit its highest
level since Nov. 7.
Prices of safe-haven gold and the CBOE Volatility Futures
index rose by the most in over one month signaling a lack
of appetite for risk assets.
"Equity investors are beginning to display concerns over the
domestic political situation that is not likely to suddenly
vanish," Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First
Standard Financial wrote.
"The equity markets have ignored the noise out of
Washington. However, we think the situation is likely to change
as this crisis leads to an interruption of the pro-growth White
House agenda, deflating the Hope Rally."
Dow e-minis were down 106 points, or 0.51 percent at
8:28 a.m. ET (1228 GMT), with 49,247 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were down 13 points, or 0.54 percent,
with 299,325 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 32.5 points, or 0.57
percent, on volume of 64,198 contracts.
Bank stocks including Goldman Sachs and Bank of
America, which have outperformed in the post-election
rally, were off 1-2 percent in premarket trading.
Among other stocks, Target was up 4.8 percent at
$57.10 after the big-box retailer reported a
smaller-than-expected drop in comparable sales.
AbbVie slipped 2.4 percent to $65.25 after Coherus
BioSciences received a favorable patent ruling against
AbbVie's Humira drug. Coherus shares rose nearly 7 percent to
Colgate-Palmolive was up 3.5 percent after the New
York Post reported that the toothpaste maker's CEO had recently
signaled he would be open to sell the company.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by