* JPMorgan, Citi kick off Q3 earnings season
* September PPI rises 0.4 pct, in line with expectation
* Futures down: Dow 20 pts, S&P 3.75 pts, Nasdaq 5.5 pts (Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Sruthi Shankar
Oct 12 (Reuters) - Wall Street looked set to open slightly lower on Thursday as results of major banks JPMorgan and Citigroup failed to fuel the optimism that has driven indexes to record highs.
JPMorgan and Citigroup, which had already talked down expectations earlier this month, reported earnings that were better than Wall Street estimates.
Both reported steep declines in trading revenue but Citi’s came in smaller than expected.
JPMorgan’s shares were up 0.5 percent and Citi 0.7 percent.
“What we’re seeing is after a long stretch of consecutive highs in the market, with earnings, even if they are slightly disappointing, or an even an aspect of earnings like bond trading at JPM, is more an excuse to selloff,” said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.
Clemons said earnings will probably heighten volatility, with lack of any other major developments to drive the market.
With the S&P 500 up 14 percent in 2017, investors are betting on strong earnings growth across the S&P 500.
Bank of America and Wells Fargo are scheduled to report earnings on Friday.
At 8:36 a.m. ET (1236 GMT), Dow e-minis were down 20 points, or 0.09 percent, with 15,593 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were down 3.75 points, or 0.15 percent, with 99,623 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 5.5 points, or 0.09 percent, on volume of 16,707 contracts.
A Labor Department report showed U.S. producer prices rose in September as the price of gasoline recorded its biggest increase in more than two years.
The PPI index for final demand rose 0.4 percent in September, after rising 0.2 percent in August.
The data comes as the Federal Reserve policymakers debate about a stubbornly-low inflation as they decide on when to raise interest rates next.
However, the more crucial reading of inflation will come from consumer price data on Friday. Many analysts have warned the data will be muddied by recent hurricanes.
The economic data also comes as the hunt for Janet Yellen’s successor to chair the Fed gathers steam.
Reports on Wednesday that Fed Governor Jerome Powell, seen as a safe pick for financial markets, was being pushed as a successor helped Wall Street close at fresh record highs.
Powell and fellow governor, Lael Brainard, are scheduled to speak later in the day.
Among stocks, AT&T fell 1.41 percent after the company said its third-quarter results took a hit from the string of hurricanes.
J.Jill plunged 45 percent after the women’s fashion retailer slashed its third-quarter forecast. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)