US STOCKS-Wall St to open flat with focus on dollar moves

* Google up 1 pct as CFO to move in from Morgan Stanley

* Whiting Petroleum shares tumble after share, note offering

* Futures little changed (Updates prices, adds data, comment)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, March 24 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were set to open little changed on Tuesday, with futures fluctuating alongside the dollar after data showed an uptick in underlying inflation pressures and gains in home prices.

Traders are gauging how the Federal Reserve will react to economic data, as a June interest rate increase from the Fed remains on the table. The focus is on dollar’s moves as the currency’s strength threatens to cut into U.S. corporate earnings.

U.S. consumer prices rebounded in February as gasoline prices rose for the first time since June.

Markit’s preliminary gauge of factory activity this month is due shortly after the opening bell.

Traders are “focusing on the effect on the dollar” after recent data, said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

“Right now, we are a bit of in a waiting pattern and the big news is going to be when these earnings reports start to hit in April.”

S&P 500 e-mini futures were up less than a point and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a flat open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures rose 12 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures added 1 point.

Manufacturing activity in China dipped to an 11-month low in March as new orders shrank while business activity in the euro zone accelerated much faster than thought, separate surveys showed.

Freeport-McMoRan shares fell 2 percent in premarket trading after the miner slashed its quarterly dividend by 84 percent, to 5 cents a share from 31.25 cents, citing lower commodity prices.

Whiting Petroleum Corp fell 20 percent premarket after North Dakota’s largest oil producer announced an offering of 35 million shares and a $ 1.75 billion mix of notes and convertible notes to help cut its near $ 6 billion debt load.

Google shares added 1 percent on news Ruth Porat will leave her post as chief financial officer at Morgan Stanley to join Google.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)

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