February 23, 2018 / 12:49 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Futures point to higher open for Wall St

* Futures up: Dow 111 pts, S&P 8.25 pts, Nasdaq 25.75 pts

By Sruthi Shankar

Feb 23 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index were higher on Friday as bond yields retreated for the second straight day, with investors also focusing on speeches by Federal Reserve officials for their views on interest rates.

U.S. Treasury 10-year note yields, the benchmark for global borrowing costs, hit a more than four-year high on Wednesday after minutes from the central bank’s last meeting showed policymakers grew more confident in the need to keep raising rates. They were last at 2.8842 percent.

New York Fed President William Dudley, Cleveland Fed’s Loretta Mester and their San Francisco counterpart, John Williams, are expected to speak during the day. All three of them are members of the rate-setting committee this year.

By 6:50 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis had gained 111 points. S&P 500 e-minis were up 8.25 points and Nasdaq 100 e-minis rose 25.75 points.

The S&P 500 and the Dow ended higher on Thursday as investor nerves were calmed by comments from St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who expressed concerns that a “bunch of hikes” this year could turn Fed policy restrictive.

Market participants are still largely expecting the Fed to raise rates three times this year, beginning with its next meeting in March.

Shares of Blue Buffalo Pet Products jumped 17 percent in premarket trading after General Mills said it would buy the natural pet food maker for $8 billion in cash. General Mills shares were marginally lower.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise rose about 10 percent after reporting upbeat quarterly results and announcing a plan to return $7 billion to shareholders by the end of fiscal 2019. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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