Wall St muted with focus on Fed's rate hike path

Wall St muted with focus on Fed's rate hike path

* Banks on track for sixth session of losses

* Nordstrom dives after cutting profit forecast

* Intuit gains on upbeat revenue forecast, Q4 results

* Indexes inch up: Dow 0.02%, S&P 0.01%, Nasdaq 0.02%

By Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Devik Jain

Aug 24 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes were subdued in early trading on Wednesday as recent economic data added to worries of a slowdown ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's conference at Jackson Hole this week.

The U.S. indexes posted losses in the past three sessions after a summer rally was halted by growing concerns of a hawkish stance by the Fed, an energy crisis in Europe and signs of economic slowdown in China.

Data on Tuesday showed private-sector business activity in the United States contracted for a second straight month in August to its weakest in 27 months, with particular softness in the services sector as demand weakened.

"Traders are reluctant to raise their exposure, afraid of getting run over by a more forceful Fed," Marios Hadjikyriacos, senior investment analyst at XM, said.

Investor focus will be on the Jackson Hole symposium which begins on Thursday and remarks from Fed Chair Jerome Powell the day after for clues on whether the central bank can achieve a "soft landing".

"Some anticipation over how hawkish Powell could be on Friday has added to some of the lingering concerns that we've seen recently," said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at Carson Group.

Traders are split between expecting a 50-basis point hike and a 75-basis point hike by the central bank.

Markets had bounced back from bear market lows on better-than-expected results from corporate America and data suggesting that inflation may have peaked, but fears of an aggressive Fed snapped the summer rally last week.

The S&P 500 .SPX has recovered 13% from its mid-June lows. The benchmark index will end the year a little above its current level, according to a Reuters poll.

Meanwhile, surveys on Tuesday showed the global economy is increasingly at risk of sliding into recession as consumers faced with generation-high inflation rein in spending, while central banks are tightening policy aggressively.

Six of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors advanced in early trading, with energy stocks .SPNY leading gains.

Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp XOM.N and Chevron Corp CVX.N rose more than 0.4% each, tracking crude prices, after Saudi Arabia suggested this week that OPEC could consider cutting output.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield US10YT=RR extended gains for its fourth straight session, weighing on megacap growth and technology stocks.

Banks .SPXBK slipped 0.4%, on track to extend losses for the sixth straight session.

At 09:47 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 7.94 points, or 0.02%, at 32,917.53, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 0.35 points, or 0.01%, at 4,129.08, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 2.50 points, or 0.02%, at 12,383.80.

Intuit Inc INTU.O gained 6.1% after the accounting software maker forecast upbeat fiscal 2023 revenue.

Nordstrom Inc JWN.N tumbled 17.6% after the retailer cut its annual revenue and profit forecasts, a sign that inflation was squeezing consumer spending on its high-end clothing and footwear.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.41-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.07-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and 30 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 20 new highs and 53 new lows.
Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar, Devik Jain and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta