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US stocks set for a lower open as investors fret over future rate hikes

CNBC logo CNBC 2/22/2018 Alexandra Gibbs

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York.© Provided by CNBC A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York.

U.S. stock index futures fell into the red ahead of Thursday's open, as talk about higher interest rates reawakened fears in U.S. markets.

Around 5:15 a.m. ET, Dow futures were down 62 points, indicating a drop of 64.78 points at the open. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 futures also pointed to a negative open for their respective markets.

Investor anxiety was brought back to the surface Wednesday, after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting revealed that members saw an uptick in inflation and increased economic growth as reasons for the central bank to continue its path on raising interest rates gradually.

The news consequently put investors on edge, with U.S. government debt yields rising sharply following the document's release, and Wall Street reversing gains, to finish the session lower. In terms of inflation, the Fed said it still saw it reaching its 2 percent objective, adding that inflation didn't look like it was getting out of control.

In corporate news, Hormel Foods, Bloomin' Brands, Shutterstock, Wayfair, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP, Intuit, GoDaddy and Wingstop are due to publish their latest earnings.

In economic data, initial jobless claims will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, followed by The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index at 10 a.m. ET and the Kansas City Fed manufacturing index, due out at 11 a.m. ET.

Speaking of the economy, Fed Governor Randal Quarles, New York Fed President William Dudley, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, and Dallas Fed President Rob are all due to deliver remarks at separate engagements Thursday — with investors waiting to see if they provide further comments on the central bank's minutes release.

Elsewhere, investors will be paying close attention to the U.S. political space for any developments surrounding Russia's alleged involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election or the Donald Trump administration's response to gun control. When it comes to the latter, on Wednesday the U.S. president showed support for background checks and arming teachers to prevent school shootings.

Meantime, oil prices fell into the red during the session amid a rise in the U.S. dollar.

—CNBC's Jeff Cox contributed to this report


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