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RTRS: Futures flat ahead of Trump news conference
 
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday ahead of President-elect Donald Trump's first formal news conference where he is expected to give more insight into his plans to boost economic growth.

Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, is scheduled to speak in New York at 11:00 a.m. ET (1600 GMT).

Trump's election in November sparked a record-setting rally, but investors now want evidence on whether he keeps his campaign-trail promises to stimulate the economy through increased public spending, tax cuts and the repatriation of U.S. companies' funds from overseas.

The dollar .DXY, which has also basked in Trump's victory, was up against the yen. However, concerns of some of his protectionist statements have kept investors wary.

Keeping futures afloat were oil prices, which edged up for the first time in three days after Saudi Arabia provided details of a February supply cut to some of its Asian customers. [O/R]

Investors are also closely watching the upcoming corporate earnings season, which kicks off with big banks on Friday, to see if financial results can support the lofty valuations Wall Street is trading at.

The combined profit of S&P 500 companies is estimated to have risen 5.8 percent in the fourth quarter - the best in three years - largely helped by financials stocks, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley is expected to speak on banking regulations at 01:20 p.m. ET.

Among stocks, Merck (MRK.N) rose 1.85 percent to $61.03 premarket after the FDA agreed to a speedy review of the company's application to combine immunotherapy with other drugs to treat lung cancer.

AstraZeneca (AZN.N) and Bristol-Myers (BMY.N), which are also developing similar therapies, were down 1.5 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Archer Daniels (ADM.N) fell 5.6 percent to $41.96 after China increased punitive tariffs on U.S. imports of an animal feed which would affect the global ethanol trader.


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