Stock futures lower after G20 drops free-trade pledge

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[March 20, 2017]  By Tanya Agrawal

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were lower on Monday as investors treaded carefully following the G20's decision to drop a pledge to avoid trade protectionism.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

* Financial leaders of the world's biggest economies dropped a pledge to keep global trade free and open, acquiescing to an increasingly protectionist United States after a two-day meeting failed to yield a compromise.

* Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans is scheduled to speak on the economy at 1:30 p.m. ET (1530 GMT) and will participate in a live television interview at 8:30 a.m. ET.

* The week is expected to see a host of Fed speakers, including Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Thursday.

* The central bank raised interest rates for the first time this year by 25 basis points last week but stuck to its outlook for two more hikes this year, instead of three expected by the market.

* U.S. stocks dipped on Friday as bank shares fell alongside Treasury yields, while Adobe helped buoy the S&P tech sector and the Nasdaq Composite.

* Oil prices fell more than 1 percent as investors made record cuts to bets on rising prices after strong drilling data from the United States fed concerns about the effectiveness of OPEC-led production cuts to curb a supply glut. [O/R]

* Shares of Array Biopharma <ARRY.O> fell 22 percent to $8.25 in premarket trading after J.P. Morgan cut its price target on the stock.

* Sprouts Farmers Market <SFM.O,> was up 9 percent at $24 after Bloomberg reported that grocery business Albertsons Cos held preliminary talks to merge with natural and organic foods grocer.

Futures snapshot at 7:10 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis <1YMc1> were down 8 points, or 0.04 percent, with 12,987 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis <ESc1> were down 3 points, or 0.13 percent, with 69,745 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis <NQc1> were down 1.5 points, or 0.03 percent, on volume of 15,415 contracts.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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