NEW YORK (Reuters) -
U.S. stock index futures were flat on Wednesday,
following a sharp decline in the previous session, as
investors looked ahead to a read on GDP expected to show
the economy shrank in the first quarter.
* The final read on first-quarter gross domestic product is due at
8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT) and is seen showing a contraction of 1.7
percent, wider than the previous read of minus 1 percent.
* A negative read, which largely reflects the impact of harsh winter
weather throughout the early months of the year, is likely priced
into markets, but other economic indicators could drive trading.
Durable goods orders, also due at 8:30 a.m., are seen as flat in
May, while a June read on service sector business activity from
financial data firm Markit is seen as essentially unchanged from
* The S&P 500 hit an intraday record in early trading on Tuesday,
boosted by some positive economic data, but enthusiasm waned in the
final hours of trading as concerns over Iraq returned to the
forefront. The Dow posted its biggest daily decline in over a month.
* S&P 500 e-mini futures <ESc1> rose 2 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.
Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures <1YMc1> rose 9 points
and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures <NQc1> rose 0.5 point.
* Geopolitical tensions will remain in view. In a mounting Sunni
insurgency, militants in Iraq attacked one of the country's largest
air bases. Separately, the first U.S. teams arrived to assess Iraqi
security forces and decide how to help counter the violence.
* Investors are concerned about the impact prolonged turmoil in Iraq
could have on oil prices, which are already up 3.8 percent this
month. U.S. crude futures <CLc1> rose 0.6 percent to $106.64 per
barrel in early trading. Many analysts have speculated that prices
above $115 per barrel for an extended period will weigh on economic
* The CBOE Volatility index <.VIX> spiked more than 10 percent on
Tuesday, coinciding with the market's pivot lower, the biggest
one-day pop for the "fear index" since April. Still, at 12.13 the
VIX remains at very low levels from an historical basis.
* Bristol-Myers Squibb Co <BMY.N> late Tuesday said a late-stage
trial testing its immunotherapy nivolumab in advanced melanoma
patients was halted early after it was determined that the drug was
likely to prolong survival.
* The U.S. Air Force late Tuesday said it had awarded Lockheed
Martin Corp <LMT.N> a fixed-price contract valued at $1.9 billion to
complete work on two missile-warning satellites as part of the
Space-Based Infrared System.
* Golar LNG Ltd <GLNG.O> was one of the Nasdaq's most active
premarket movers, falling 3 percent to $53.65 a day after it priced
an offering of 11 million shares at a discount to its Tuesday close.