US STOCKS-Wall St little changed ahead of Fed minutes

* Fed minutes expected at 2 p.m. ET

* Oil falls more than 1 pct on rising OPEC exports

* Baidu higher after TomTom partnership deal

* Dow down 0.13 pct, S&P off 0.06 pct, Nasdaq up 0.16 pct
(Updates to open)

By Tanya Agrawal

July 5 (Reuters) – Wall Street was little changed on
Wednesday as gains in technology stocks were overshadowed by
steep losses in energy shares, while investors awaited minutes
of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting for more clues on interest
rate hikes this year.

The Fed, which lifted interest rates and unveiled details of
its plan to cut its mammoth crisis-era bond portfolio at its
mid-June meeting, will release minutes at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT).

A recent set of tepid economic data and an inflation rate
below the central bank’s 2 percent target may have a bearing on
its rate hike plans.

“Markets will also be paying very close attention to see if
the minutes suggest that the recent fall in inflation is
‘transitory’, with suggestions of higher rates still on the
cards, unless the U.S. economy decelerates,” said Lukman
Otunuga, analyst with FXTM Research.

U.S. factory goods orders are likely to drop 0.5 percent in
May, compared with a 0.2 percent decline in April. The data is
expected at 10 a.m. ET.

At 9:43 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was
down 28.82 points, or 0.13 percent, at 21,450.45 and the S&P 500
was down 1.58 points, or 0.06 percent, at 2,427.43.

However, the Nasdaq Composite was up 9.72 points, or
0.16 percent, at 6,119.78.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the
energy index’s 0.99 percent fall leading the decliners.

Crude oil was down more than 1 percent as rising OPEC
exports turned sentiment more bearish, dragging down shares of
Exxon and Chevron by more than 1 percent.

The tech sector led the gainers with a 0.59
percent gain.

Tech stocks have been volatile in the past few weeks on
concerns over the sector’s valuation, after powering the S&P’s
record run this year.

Shares of Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet
and Intel reversed premarket losses to trade
higher in early trading.

Baidu rose 2 percent after the Chinese internet
search company struck a deal with TomTom to develop
high-definition digital maps used for computer-assisted driving.

Monogram Residential Trust jumped 22.2 percent
after a Greystar fund said it would buy the luxury apartment
developer in a deal valued at about $3 billion.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,820
to 787. On the Nasdaq, 1,550 issues fell and 884 advanced.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil
D’Silva)


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