* Exxon, Chevron up slightly after results
* LinkedIn, Abbvie soar after results
* Keycorp down after agreeing to buy First Niagara
* Consumer spending barely rose in September
* Futures up: Dow 35 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 9.25 pts (Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Oct 30 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were set to open slightly higher on Friday after better-than-expected results from energy majors Exxon and Chevron.
Low crude oil prices boosted refining margins at the companies, helping mitigate weakness in oil and gas production. Exxon’s shares were up 0.6 percent, while Chevron rose 1.1 percent.
Data on Friday showed U.S. consumer spending barely rose in September, suggesting some cooling in domestic demand.
As the earning season winds down, investors will be looking at data over the next several weeks to assess the state of the economy before the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting in December.
The Fed made it clear on Wednesday that a rate hike in December was still possible if there was sufficient evidence that the economy could withstand an increase.
“We’re looking at a steady to slightly higher opening. It’s about earnings and economic data today,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
At 8:38 a.m. ET (1238 GMT), S&P 500 e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.19 percent, with 177,660 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 9.25 points, or 0.2 percent, on volume of 26,614 contracts. Dow e-minis were up 35 points, or 0.2 percent, with 20,762 contracts changing hands.
The University of Michigan’s final index on consumer sentiment, which is expected to rise to 92.5 in October from 92.1 in September, is due at 10:00 a.m.
Global markets rose as central banks kept stimulus programs intact. U.S. stocks closed slightly lower on Thursday, weighed down by interest-rate sensitive utilities stocks.
Abbvie was up 6.7 percent at $57.75 while CVS Health fell 2.7 percent after results.
Keycorp fell 5.2 percent to $12.69 after it said it would buy First Niagara Financial for $4.1 billion. First Niagara rose 3.3 percent to $10.72.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals was down 9.6 percent at $100.82 after it said it was cutting all ties with specialty pharmacy Philidor.
LinkedIn shot up 11.7 percent to $242.49 while Expedia jumped 6.9 percent to $135.80 after their quarterly results beat estimates.
AB InBev’s U.S.-listed shares were up 2.7 percent after the brewer gave positive view on revenue this year.
Strong results from blue-chips have helped improve analyst sentiment, with profits at S&P 500 companies now expected to fall 1.7 percent, far less than the 4.9 percent drop forecast at the start of earnings season, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The Fed’s Board of Governors will hold an open meeting in Washington on policies regarding large banking organizations.
San Francisco Fed President John Williams is slated to take part in a discussion on interest rates. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)