February 27, 2018 / 1:32 PM / 20 days ago

US STOCKS-Futures dip ahead of Powell's testimony

* Futures down: Dow 64 pts, S&P 8.25 pts, Nasdaq 18.5 pts

By Sruthi Shankar

Feb 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a pause in Wall Street’s recovery on Tuesday as investors turned cautious ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s first congressional testimony.

The S&P 500 and the Dow posted gains in the past three sessions as a decline in U.S. bond yields helped cool fears about faster interest rate hikes.

All eyes will be on Powell, who faces questions from both houses of the U.S. Congress in a semi-annual testimony later in the day, his first major set piece since he took over from Janet Yellen earlier this month.

Most analysts expect no surprises from Powell regarding his views on economic growth and interest rates. However, his testimony comes at a sensitive time for the markets and Powell’s comments will be parsed for any hints on the pace of rate hikes.

Stocks have recovered much of their losses from the early February sell-off, when they shed more than 10 percent on inflation worries.

The Nasdaq is just 1.12 percent below its record high hit a month ago, while the S&P and the Dow are trading 3.2 percent and 3.4 percent below their life highs, respectively.

At 6:45 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 64 points, S&P 500 e-minis fell 8.25 points and Nasdaq 100 e-minis dropped 18.5 points.

Among stocks, Comcast fell 1.5 percent in premarket trading after the U.S. cable operator made an unsolicited bid of $31 billion for Sky. Sky’s London-listed shares jumped more than 20 percent.

Fitbit slumped 16 percent after the wearable device maker forecast current-quarter results below estimates.

Toll Brothers reported first-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as it sold more luxury homes at higher prices. Its shares rose 1.3 percent.

Data due at 8:30 a.m. ET is likely to show overall orders for durable goods, items ranging from toasters to aircraft meant to last three years or more, dropped 2 percent in January, after rising 2.8 percent in the month before.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index is likely to have edged up to 126.6 in February from 125.4 the previous month. The report is due at 10:00 a.m. ET. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva )

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