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US STOCKS-Futures fall as Fed rate hike worries sap risk sentiment

·3 min read

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click or type LIVE/ in a news window.)

* Futures down: Dow 0.82%, S&P 1.04%, Nasdaq 1.18%

Aug 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell on Friday after Federal Reserve officials said the central bank needs to keep raising interest rates to rein in inflation, while deliberating on how fast and how high to lift them.

High-growth and technology stocks such as Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc declined more than 1% in trading before the bell as U.S. Treasury bond yields climbed.

Banks also fell and were on track to end the week lower, potentially snapping their six-week winning streak.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Thursday he was leaning toward supporting a third straight 75-basis-point rate hike in September, while San Francisco Fed colleague Mary Daly said hiking rates by 50 or 75 basis points next month would be "reasonable".

Kansas City Fed President Esther George said she and her colleagues will not stop tightening policy until they are "completely convinced" that overheated inflation is coming down.

"Even the Fed appears to be having a hard time making sense of the data as policymakers are having doubts about what the pace of rate hikes should be going forward," Raffi Boyadjian, lead investment analyst at XM, said.

Traders are now seeing a near equal chance of a 50 basis-point and 75 basis-point hike.

The U.S. central bank has raised its benchmark overnight interest rate by 225 bps since March to fight four decade-high inflation.

At 6:47 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 279 points, or 0.82%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 44.5 points, or 1.04%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 159.25 points, or 1.18%.

Stocks have wavered this week after the Fed's minutes from its July meeting were released on Wednesday, as investors tried to get an accurate reading of the central bank's monetary policy tightening path.

While the Dow and the S&P 500 are on track to post slim weekly gains, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is headed for its first weekly loss after four straight weeks of gains.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was on track to post its third week of gains.

Focus next week will be on Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech on economic outlook at the annual global central bankers' conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain-related stocks dropped following a sudden selloff in bitcoin, with crypto exchange Coinbase Global and miner Marathon Digital down 7.6% and 11.9%, respectively.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc tumbled 44.2% as billionaire investor Ryan Cohen exited the struggling home goods retailer by selling his stake following a stunning rally in the stock this month. (Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)