Futures flat as Greece clarity sought; S&P at record

imageNEW YORK: US stock index futures were flat on Wednesday, a day after the S&P 500 ended above 2,100 for the first time, as investors waited to see whether a debt deal would be reached with Greece.

Wall Street stocks have been tied to signs of progress or difficulty with Greece’s bailout program of late, even though the United States has little direct exposure to the country. Market participants are concerned that if a deal isn’t reached by Feb. 28, when a bailout program for Greece expires, increased volatility could spread through the euro zone.

European shares rose 0.6 percent, hitting a seven-year high after the Greek government confirmed it would ask for an extension of its loan agreement.

Shares in Greek banks rose 7.1 percent.

Still, the situation in Greece remained uncertain, with the government in Athens also looking to renegotiate Greece’s debts. US-listed shares of the National Bank of Greece fell 8 percent in premarket trading.

Investors also looked ahead to minutes from the January meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee for hints about whether the central bank might change the language of its next policy statement to flag a possible increase in interest rates, which could come as early as June.

Exxon Mobil Corp fell 1.7 percent to $ 91.50 premarket, a day after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc disclosed that it had shed a $ 3.74 billion investment in the oil major amid weaker commodity prices. Berkshire also disclosed a 5 percent stake in Deere & Co.

Crude oil fell 2.2 percent to $ 52.36 per barrel, snapping a three-day streak of gains over 1 percent. While oil is up almost 19 percent from a recent closing low, it remained down more than 50 percent since June.

Fossil Group Inc sank 15 percent to $ 84.59 premarket after the fashion accessory maker reported quarterly earnings and revenue below expectations, and said first-quarter net sales would fall 7.5 percent.

Garmin Ltd fell 5.6 percent to $ 53.62 before the bell after the navigation device maker gave an earnings outlook below estimates, citing the impact of a strong dollar.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

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