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US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher on earnings optimism
July 20, 2017 / 12:50 PM / 5 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher on earnings optimism

* Abbott up after raising full-year profit forecast

* AmEx, Travelers fall after posting drop in profit

* Weekly jobless claims fall to five-month low

* Visa, Microsoft, eBay to report after closing bell

* Futures up: Dow 25 pts, S&P 4.5 pts, Nasdaq 16.25 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Tanya Agrawal

July 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes looked set to open higher on Thursday, a day after all three major indexes closed at record highs, as investors waited for earnings to sustain the rally in technology stocks.

The S&P 500 tech sector, which has been the best performing sector this year, broke its previous record closing high that had held since March 2000 in the midst of the dot-com and Y2K tech stocks bubble.

Microsoft, which will report results after the market close, was up 0.4 percent in premarket trading. Other major tech names such as Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon are due to report results next week.

Investors have been pouring money into the technology sector in their search for growth areas in an otherwise low-growth environment, looking for sectors that are not affected by any major policy gridlock.

Quarterly earnings will continue to be the main focus with analysts estimating an 8.7 percent rise in second-quarter earnings and a 4.6 percent increase in revenue for the S&P 500 companies from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Visa, eBay, Capital One Financial are due to report results after the closing bell.

“The surge in stock prices is showing no signs of letting up as corporate America’s earnings power continue to expand,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

“The mostly better-than-expected results are lifting investors’ confidence - a basic fundamental positive for equities markets.”

Dow e-minis were up 25 points, or 0.12 percent, with 15,185 contracts changing hands at 8:33 a.m. ET (1233 GMT).

S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.5 points, or 0.18 percent, with 114,692 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 16.25 points, or 0.27 percent, on volume of 19,571 contracts.

Economic data showed weekly jobless claims fell to a five-month low. Claims fell to 233,000, below the 245,000 expected by economists polled by Reuters.

Cigarette maker Philip Morris was down 3 percent after its quarterly profit came in below expectations.

American Express fell 1.7 percent after the card company’s profit declined 33 percent in the second quarter.

Abbott Laboratories rose 1.1 percent after the healthcare company raised its full-year profit forecast.

Property and casualty insurer Travelers was down 1.9 percent after reporting a drop in quarterly profit.

T-Mobile was up 3.7 percent after the wireless carrier’s quarterly results topped analysts’ estimates.

Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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