* Alibaba jumps after results
* Pharma majors Pfizer, Merck rise on strong results
* Fed meeting on interest rates begins today
* Apple, Twitter report after the close
* Futures down: Dow 48 pts, S&P 5.75 pts, Nasdaq 6.25 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Oct 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks looked set to open lower on Tuesday after a barrage of mixed earnings reports and weak durable goods data.
Investors are also awaiting comments from the Federal Reserve, which begins its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday.
While expectations of a rate hike this week are low, focus will be on the Fed’s interpretation of economic data and global financial events for a bearing on the timing of a liftoff.
Corporate results also remain in sharp focus as investors scrutinize the reports for measures companies are taking to grow revenue and protect profit margins.
All eyes are on Apple, which reports fourth-quarter results after the close, as investors await commentary on the iPhone maker’s business in China and its forecast for the crucial holiday quarter.
“I think it’s a day where the market is going to metaphorically hold its breath and wait for both Apple’s results and what the Fed is going to do,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst, Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
At 8:33 a.m. ET (1233 GMT), S&P 500 e-minis were down 5.75 points, or 0.28 percent, with 108,078 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 6.25 points, or 0.14 percent, on volume of 20,000 contracts. Dow e-minis were down 48 points, or 0.27 percent, with 15,131 contracts changing hands.
Strong results from tech majors and blue chips have helped improve analyst sentiment on quarterly earnings.
S&P 500 earnings are now expected to have declined 2.8 percent in the quarter, compared with a 4.2 percent decline forecast at the start of the month, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Data on Tuesday showed non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft slid 0.3 percent last month after a revised 1.6 percent decline in August.
The Conference Board’s index of consumer attitudes is due at 10:00 a.m. The index is forecast to remain steady in October from the previous month when it rose to 103.0, the highest since January.
Pfizer’s shares rose 2.5 percent, while Merck was up 1.3 percent premarket after the companies reported better-than-expected profits and raised forecasts for the year.
Alibaba was up 8.4 percent at $82.74 after the e-commerce giant reported better-than-expected revenue. Yahoo , which owns a 15 percent stake in Alibaba, rose 6 to $35.42.
Ford’s shares skidded 4 percent to $15.06 after its profit missed estimates, while UPS fell 2.9 percent to $103.10 after its revenue missed expectations.
Shares of Twitter, which will post results after the close, were up 1.5 percent.
Novartis’ U.S.-listed shares fell 2.2 percent to $90.27 after the Swiss company said a $390 million settlement for a U.S. kickbacks case hurt profit. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)