* August consumption rose 0.1 pct vs. est. rise of 0.2 pct
* Nvidia up after brokerage raises price target
* Futures: Dow down 17 pts, S&P off 1.5 pts, Nasdaq up 6.75 pts (Adds analyst comment, updates shares)
By Sruthi Shankar
Sept 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Friday after data showed cooling consumer spending in August and slowing pace of inflation growth, pointing to moderation in economic activity in the third quarter.
The Commerce Department said consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, edged up 0.1 percent last month as Hurricane Harvey weighed on auto sales.
The core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index rose 0.1 percent in August, slowing the pace of annual rise in core PCE price index to 1.3 percent, the smallest increase in nearly two years.
Despite inflation remaining stubbornly below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target, the odds of an interest rate hike in December remains high, as suggested by Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s recent speech.
Financial markets are pricing in a roughly 71.4 percent probability of December move, up from 32.5 percent a month ago, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
Investors also remained skeptical about President Donald Trump’s ability to push his tax plan through Congress.
Trump’s plan called for tax cuts for most Americans, but drew criticism that the plan favors business and the rich and could add trillions of dollars to the deficit.
“For the market the most important thing is tax cuts for the corporations and that, most likely, will not be tampered with,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
“But any disappointment going forward, would certainly take the wind out of this market as it has rallied on hopes of cuts.”
The dollar was on track for its biggest weekly rise in 2017 after Trump’s tax plan, while the three major Wall Street indexes were set to lock in gains for the month and the quarter.
U.S. stocks have held steady at record levels even as concerns about a standoff with North Korea, political mayhem in Washington and timing of the interest rate hikes caused brief setbacks.
At 8:35 a.m. ET (1235 GMT), Dow e-minis were down 17 points, or 0.08 percent, with 14,963 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were down 1.5 points, or 0.06 percent, with 109,795 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 6.75 points, or 0.11 percent, on volume of 22,910 contracts.
Nvidia was up 1.75 percent in premarket trading after Citigroup raised its price target on the stock.
KB Home rose about 4 percent after the homebuilder’s profit and revenue came above estimates, prompting a slew of price-target raises.
Electronics and furniture retailer Conn’s was up 6.41 percent after Oppenheimer upgraded the stock to “outperform”. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)