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Powell due to speak at 11:00 a.m. ET
Tesla slips as Cybertruck priced above initial forecast
Futures: Dow flat, S&P down 0.16%, Nasdaq off 0.25%
(Updated at 8:26 a.m. ET/ 1326 GMT)
By Shristi Achar A and Amruta Khandekar
Dec 1 (Reuters) - Wall Street's indexes were set for a subdued open on Friday as investors were on edge in the run up to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's comments that are expected to hold clues on the interest rate path.
This comes after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished November with their biggest monthly gain since July 2022, while the Dow Jones rallied to close at its highest level since January 2022.
Data showing slowing U.S. consumer spending, some dovish comments from Fed officials and a strong earnings season propelled the equity indexes to a stellar November.
The recent slew of economic data, including Thursday's personal consumption expenditure index, signalled easing inflation in the world's largest economy, underscoring hopes the central bank would now end its interest rates hiking cycle.
But after recent conflicting policy remarks from some policymakers, investors are concerned that Powell could push back against the rate cut narrative. Powell is expected to speak at two separate events at 11 a.m. ET and 2 p.m. ET.
"Especially because of the ebullience of the markets over the last couple of weeks, there probably is a hawkish message that he's going to deliver today," said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners.
Forrest added markets were not expecting interest rates to stay at elevated levels for long.
A pause in rate hikes has been fully priced in for the upcoming December policy meeting, and traders also see an about 48% chance of at least a 25 basis point rate cut in March 2024 and an about 78% chance of another cut in May, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.
Investors will also monitor comments from Fed Governors Lisa Cook and Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee, scheduled to speak during the day, and look out for manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) data from the S&P Global and ISM.
At 8:26 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 7 points, or 0.02%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 7.5 points, or 0.16%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 40.75 points, or 0.25%.
Tesla underperformed other megacap stocks, down 2.0% before the bell, as the EV maker priced its Cybertruck above its initial forecast.
Among other stocks, U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba slipped 1.7% premarket after Morgan Stanley downgraded the e-commerce giant, citing slower turnaround in customer management revenue (CMR).
Pfizer fell 4.3% as the drugmaker scrapped its plan to advance a twice-daily version of oral weight-loss drug danuglipron into late-stage studies.
Marvell Technology shed 4.6% after the chipmaker's fourth-quarter revenue forecast fell short of Street estimates.
Ulta Beauty rose 10.9% after the cosmetics retailer raised the lower end of its annual net sales forecast and named Paula Oyibo its new chief financial officer.
Automation software firm UiPath jumped 16.2% on beating third-quarter revenue estimates.
(Reporting by Shristi Achar A and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)