US STOCKS-Futures tread water, meme stocks set to extend gains

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(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as a lack of clear catalysts kept trading slow, with investors awaiting fresh cues from inflation data this week and an upcoming Federal Reserve meeting.

FILE PHOTO: A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

But buying into so-called “meme stocks” by small-time retail investors continued, with the new social media favorite Clover Health surging 17% in premarket trade after jumping 85% to a record high on Tuesday.

GameStop – the company most closely associated with the retail rally this year – rose 2.4% ahead of its quarterly results, due after the bell.

Wall Street indexes have moved little this week amid a dearth of cues, with most investors sticking to the sidelines ahead of key inflation data on Thursday.

The Fed’s meeting next week is also expected to shed more light on the bank’s policy tapering plans. While inflation has surged in recent months, a sluggish labor market is broadly expected to keep the bank dovish.

At 06:15 a.m. ET, U.S. S&P 500 E-minis were up 1.75 points, or 0.04%, Dow E-minis were down 20 points, or 0.06%, while Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 20 points, or 0.14%.

A strong earnings season had seen Wall Street surging to record highs through May, with analysts suggesting markets had taken a pause in recent weeks after the gains.

Shares of major banks came under some pressure as bond yields sank to one-month lows. [US/]

U.S.-listed Chinese stocks showed little reaction to a sweeping package of legislation intended to bolster the United States’ capability to compete with Chinese technology.

The move drew some criticism from China.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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