April 17, 2017 / 1:02 PM / 9 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street looks set to open slightly higher

* Oil prices pare losses

* Most European financial markets closed for Easter holiday

* Incyte, Lilly drop after FDA rejects drug

* Futures up: Dow 24 pts, S&P 2.5 pts, Nasdaq 8.5 pts (Adds details, comments, updates prices)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

April 17 (Reuters) - Wall Street was on track to open slightly higher on Monday as oil prices trimmed losses, but gains may be limited by geopolitical tensions and soft U.S. data.

U.S. retail sales fell for the second straight month in March and consumer prices dropped for the first time in just over a year, a report from the Commerce Department showed on Friday. Wall Street was closed for the Good Friday holiday.

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said the United States, its allies and China were working on a range of responses to North Korea’s latest failed ballistic missile test.

Oil prices were off session lows on Monday. An Iranian minister was quoted saying most producers supported an extension of output cut to boost prices, even as investors worried about increased output from the United States.

Trading volumes are likely to be light, with most European financial markets closed for the Easter holiday.

Mounting geopolitical tensions in the past week have pushed investors into buying safe-haven assets. Gold prices hit five month highs on Monday, while the dollar fell to a five-month low as the safe yen rose.

“The major threat hanging over the market now is the geopolitical situation. The fact that North Korea’s failed missile launch maybe a reason why we are seeing a little bit of a bounce back here,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

Dow e-minis were up 24 points, or 0.12 percent, at 8:29 a.m. ET (1229 GMT), with 16,311 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.5 points, or 0.11 percent, with 82,065 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 8.5 points, or 0.16 percent, on volume of 16,698 contracts.

Investors are also keeping an eye on quarterly earnings to justify pricey valuations of stocks. The first quarter is expected to be strong, with earnings of S&P 500 companies estimated to have risen 10.4 percent.

Companies set to report results on Monday include Netflix and United Continental, which became a subject of international outrage for dragging a passenger from its plane.

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer is scheduled to speak at an event in New York at 5:00 p.m. ET (2100 GMT) and could offer his thoughts on the path to interest rate hikes and the central bank’s plans for its balance sheet.

Shares of Incyte Corp plunged more than 13 percent to $121.95 premarket, while Eli Lilly dropped 5.2 percent after the U.S. FDA declined to approve a new drug for rheumatoid arthritis made by the two companies.

Shares of AbbVie and Pfizer, which already have rheumatoid arthritis drugs in the market, rose on the news.

Alere jumped nearly 17 percent to $49.49 after Abbott agreed on Friday to buy the company in a deal valued at about $5.3 billion. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)

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