April 12, 2017 / 12:50 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open flat; geopolitics, earnings in focus

3 Min Read

* Banks start reporting results on Thursday

* Delta Air rises on profit beat

* Futures down: Dow 19 pts, S&P 4.25 pts, Nasdaq 9.5 pts (Adds details, comments, updates prices)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

April 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks looked set to dip at the open on Wednesday as investors braced for the upcoming corporate earnings season amid mounting geopolitical risks.

The United States launched missiles at a Syrian airfield last week to retaliate a deadly chemical attack on civilians. The strikes pushed President Donald Trump, who came to power in January calling for warmer ties with Syria's ally Russia, and his administration into confrontation with Moscow.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the U.S. for a peaceful resolution with North Korea, which has warned it would launch a nuclear attack if provoked by the United States, as a U.S. Navy strike group headed toward the western Pacific.

Investors are closely watching the quarterly earnings to support lofty valuations on Wall Street following a rally fueled by bets on Trump's pro-growth agenda. The big banks unofficially kick-off the season on Thursday, with results due from JPMorgan , Citigroup and Wells Fargo.

"It would be very important what they (banks) offer as forecast because stock prices imply better times ahead and investors are looking for assurances and positive forecasts to be issued," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Dow e-minis were down 19 points, or 0.09 percent, at 8:17 a.m. ET (1217 GMT), with 28,815 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were down 4.25 points, or 0.18 percent, with 177,798 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 9.5 points, or 0.18 percent, on volume of 30,660 contracts.

Gold prices were flat but remained close to the highest level hit in November. The dollar index was also little changed, while oil prices edged up slightly.

Comments from Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan will be parsed for clues on interest rate hikes and the Fed's plans to trim its balance sheet. Kaplan is expected to speak at 10:00 a.m. ET. (1300 GMT)

Shares moving premarket included Whole Foods, which rose 2.8 percent to $34.50 after Bloomberg reported overnight that Amazon.com had mulled buying the organic food chain last year.

Delta Air Lines was up 2.8 percent at $46.55, following a quarterly profit that beat analysts' expectation.

Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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