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Wall Street to open flat ahead of Yellen; Ukraine eyed

By Chuck Mikolajczak

Reuters

9:12 AM EDT, August 22, 2014

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were poised for a flat open on Friday, as futures pared losses after the latest flare of tensions between Ukraine and Russia, and ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

Futures initially lost ground after Ukrainian authorities said trucks from a Russian aid convoy had crossed into Ukraine without permission, which it termed a "flagrant violation" of international law and as the country appealed to the international community to condemn Russia's actions as illegal and aggressive.

Market participants will closely monitor a speech Yellen is due to make at a policymakers' meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for insights into how soon interest rates may be raised. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is also expected to speak.

The S&P 500 <.SPX> has risen for four straight sessions, its longest streak in two months, rallying to a record closing high of 1,992.37, on positive economic data. The benchmark index is up 1.9 percent for the week, on track for its best week in four months.

S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 1.75 points and fair value - a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract - indicated a slightly lower open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures <1YMc1> fell 7 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures were flat.

Foot Locker climbed 3 percent to $54.17 in premarket trade after the athletic footwear and apparel retailer reported second-quarter earnings.

Aeropostale shares slumped 6.1 percent to $3.67 before the opening bell. The teen apparel retailer reported a drop in same-store sales and a second-quarter loss a day earlier.

GameStop Corp reported quarterly revenue surged by 25 percent over the prior year, topping expectations, sending shares up 6.9 percent to $43.29 in premarket.

Peregrine Semiconductor shares surged 61.8 percent to $12.44 in premarket after Murata Electronics North America said it would buy the rest of chipmaker it does not already own for $12.50 per share.


(Editing by Bernadette Baum)