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US STOCKS-Wall St to open near record-highs on strong retail earnings
February 21, 2017 / 2:00 PM / 10 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St to open near record-highs on strong retail earnings

* Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Macy’s rise after results

* Dollar up on rate hike comments from Fed officials

* Popeyes up after Restaurant Brands agrees to buy company

* Futures up: Dow 61 pts, S&P 4.5 pts, Nasdaq 9 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Feb 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks looked set to open near record-highs on Tuesday as oil prices rose and investors cheered better-than-expected profits at top U.S. retailers.

Shares of Wal-Mart and Home Depot are likely to be the top influencers on the Dow after the companies reported results. Wal-Mart was up 3.4 percent in premarket trading, while Home Depot rose 1.9 percent.

Department store bellwether Macy’s also reported a better-than-expected profit, sending its shares up 3.2 percent.

Investor sentiment was boosted by a more than 1.5 percent rise in oil prices, after OPEC said the group was hopeful of higher compliance with its deal to cut production.

Strong earnings, robust economic data and the possibility of fiscal stimulus under President Donald Trump has lifted Wall Street’s main indexes to record highs in the past months.

The dollar rose 0.58 percent after Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said on Sunday that she would be comfortable raising rates if the U.S. economy kept performing. Gold prices fell 0.74 percent.

Investors will keep an eye on comments from three Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday for insight into the timing of the next interest rate hike.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average marked its seventh-straight record close on Friday. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite also closed at record levels.

“The strong technical aspect along with rising oil prices and macro news will likely support another record closing session for the indices,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial wrote in a note.

Wall Street was closed on Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.

Dow e-minis were up 61 points, or 0.3 percent at 8:29 a.m. ET (1329 GMT), with 50,458 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.5 points, or 0.19 percent, with 237,087 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 9 points, or 0.17 percent, on volume of 48,520 contracts.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen jumped 16.42 percent to $76.98 after Restaurant Brands agreed to acquire the quick-service restaurant chain for $1.8 billion.

Kraft Heinz shares fell 4.9 percent after it walked away from its $143 billion offer to buy Unilever, a day after the Anglo-Dutch company rejected the proposal. Unilever’s U.S.-listed shares were down 8.4 percent.

Freeport was down 5 percent at $14.16 after the miner warned on Monday it could take the Indonesian government to arbitration and seek damages over a dispute that has halted operations at a copper mine. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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