US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher on ECB comment; Wal-Mart slips
* Dow component Wal-Mart falls after results
* Global markets rally on ECB comments
* Housing starts jump to 7.5 yr high
* Futures up: Dow 51 pts, S&P 5 pts, Nasdaq 16.75 pts (Adds comment, updates prices)
By Sweta Singh
May 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stock were set to open higher on Tuesday after the European Central Bank suggested it would speed up bond buying, and investors shrugged off weak earnings from Wal-Mart.
Futures held on to their gains after data showed U.S. housing starts jumped to their highest level in nearly 7-1/2 years in April and permits soared, offering hope for an economy struggling to regain momentum.
The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 ended at record highs on Monday as weak economic data eased concerns of an early move by the Federal Reserve to raise rates.
"The ECB's announcement to front-load its asset buying program certainly sparked the European markets and that's spilling over into the U.S. markets," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. Continuación...