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US STOCKS-Wall St set to open little changed as results roll in
October 20, 2015 / 1:04 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open little changed as results roll in

* Verizon, Travelers, United Tech up after results

* Yum Brands jumps on plans to spin off China business

* Harley Davidson down on cut to shipment forecast

* Futures down: Dow 16 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 6.75 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Abhiram Nandakumar

Oct 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open little changed on Tuesday as investors digested a barrage of quarterly earnings reports including Dow components Travelers, Verizon and IBM.

Third-quarter company earnings are in focus this week, with investors expecting tepid corporate performance and watching for outlook commentary to gauge the effects of a global economic slowdown on companies.

S&P 500 companies are expected to show a 3.9 percent fall in third-quarter profit.

Shares of Verizon were up 1.6 percent at $45.43 premarket after the largest U.S. wireless service provider reported better-than-expected results.

Travelers rose 3.4 percent to $109.90 after the insurer’s quarterly profit topped estimates, helped by higher underwriting gains.

Stock markets will likely be driven by sales performance and guidance around the measures companies are taking to grow revenue, said Mohannad Aama, managing director at Beam Capital Management in New York.

Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported until Friday, 43 percent have beaten expectations on revenue, according to Thomson Reuters data. About 60 percent companies on average beat sales estimates in a quarter.

At 8:25 a.m. ET (1225 GMT), S&P 500 e-minis were down 4 points, or 0.2 percent, with 110,675 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 6.75 points, or 0.15 percent, on volume of 17,796 contracts. Dow e-minis were down 16 points, or 0.09 percent, with 16,865 contracts changing hands.

U.S. stocks closed with slight gains on Monday as tech and biotech stocks advanced ahead of a heavy week of earnings.

Data showed U.S. housing starts rose 6.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.21 million units in September.

United Technologies rose 2.5 percent to $94.33 after the company’s quarterly profit beat analyst expectations.

IBM fell 4.7 percent to $142.25 a day after it reported a bigger-than-expected fall in quarterly revenue and cut its full-year profit forecast.

Sandisk jumped 8.3 percent to $77.97 after a Reuters report said Western Digital was in advanced talks to buy the memory chipmaker, citing people familiar with the matter.

Harley Davidson fell 7.8 percent to $51.70 after the motorcycle maker cut its full-year shipment forecast.

Yum Brands rose 6.5 percent to $76.40 after the fast food group said it was preparing to separate its China business.

Tech earnings gather steam as Yahoo and VMware report results after the close on Tuesday.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, New York Fed President William Dudley and Fed Board Governor Jerome Powell are scheduled to speak on Tuesday. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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