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3 months ago
US STOCKS-Wall St set to open slightly higher as oil prices jump
May 15, 2017 / 1:04 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open slightly higher as oil prices jump

* AIG higher after new CEO appointed

* Oil prices hit three-week high

* Patheon soars after Thermo Fisher's $5.2 bln deal

* Futures: Dow up 43 pts, S&P up 3 pts, Nasdaq off 2.75 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Tanya Agrawal

May 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks looked set to open slightly higher on Monday as a rise in oil prices soothed some nerves following a massive cyber attack that locked up 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries.

Oil hit a three-week high after top exporter Saudi Arabia and Russia said supply cuts needed to last into 2018, a step towards extending an OPEC-led deal to support prices for longer than originally agreed.

Shares of oil majors Exxon and Chevron were up 1 percent in premarket trading.

"On one hand, this is good news because we are looking at a situation where we would not have to worry oil production and its baggage for some time," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK Ltd.

"On the negative side, we think that traders are reading too much into this situation and ... the current production cut has not been able to produce any substantial results so far."

Dow e-minis were up 43 points, or 0.21 percent, with 22,433 contracts changing hands at 8:33 a.m. ET (1233 GMT).

S&P 500 e-minis were up 3 points, or 0.13 percent, with 126,481 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 2.75 points, or 0.05 percent, on volume of 24,856 contracts.

Investors seemed to mostly shrug off fears from a successful missile test by North Korea and a cyberattack that disrupted operations at car factories, hospitals, shops and schools.

Shares of cybersecurity firms such as Fireye, Symantec, Palo Alto Networks and Cyberark Software were all up.

U.S. stocks slipped on Friday, ending the week lower as tepid economic data weighed on banks and worries deepened over department stores.

Wall Street was gripped by risk-averse sentiment last week, after President Donald Trump unexpectedly fired the FBI chief, the potential fallout from which could delay Trump's pro-growth goals to cut taxes and boost spending on infrastructure.

The new administration's agenda, which is seen favoring the economy, has sent the S&P 500 soaring about 12 percent since the election with the index trading at 17.6 times expected earnings, higher than its 10-year average of 14.2.

Soft retail sales and monthly inflation data on Friday raised concerns about slow economic growth.

The tepid economic data comes on the heels of a strong quarterly earnings season. Earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to have grown 14.5 percent in the first quarter - the best showing since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The NAHB Housing Market Index for May, is expected to remain unchanged at 68 from the month before. The data is expected at 10 a.m. ET.

Tesla was down 2.4 percent at $317.15 after Morgan Stanley downgraded its rating on the electric-car maker's stock.

American International Group rose 1 percent to $61.58 after the insurer named a new chief executive officer.

Patheon NV soared 33.9 percent to $34.82 after Thermo Fisher Scientific said it would buy Dutch drug ingredients maker for about $5.2 billion. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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