April 20, 2016 / 1:02 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set for higher open as earnings lift sentiment

* Crude down more than 1 percent

* VMWare, Discover Financial jump after earnings beat

* Intel down after revenue forecast cut

* Futures up: Dow 9 pts, S&P 3 pts, Nasdaq 9 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Abhiram Nandakumar

April 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were set to open slightly higher on Wednesday as encouraging earnings reports countered oil prices sliding on renewed concerns about global oversupply.

Crude fell more than 1 percent after Kuwaiti oil workers called off a strike that drove up prices and helped the S&P 500 breach 2,100 on Tuesday, about 30 points shy of its record high.

A recent rebound in oil and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy helped the index recover from a steep selloff earlier this year.

Investors are sharply focused on the earnings season as they seek catalysts to drive stocks higher. Big-bank earnings reports last week were better than expected and helped lift sentiment.

“If earnings continue to surprise on the upside, you could see people ... join the rally and that money from the sidelines will move into the market,” said Nadia Lovell, U.S. Equity Specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

Lovell expects the market to edge up on Wednesday, but cautioned that investors remained wary.

At 8:31 a.m. ET (1231 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 9 points, or 0.05 percent, with 37,453 contracts changing hands. S&P 500 e-minis were up 3 points, or 0.14 percent, with 218,460 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 9 points, or 0.2 percent, on 23,267 contracts.

First-quarter earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to have fallen 7.6 percent on average and revenues are seen dipping 1.3 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Better-than-expected quarterly profits pushed VMWare up 10 percent, Discover Financial Services 4.7 percent, Yahoo 1.4 percent and EMC up 2.5 percent in premarket trading.

Lexmark jumped 10.5 percent to $38.30 after it agreed to be taken private by a group of investors led by China-based Apex Technology Co and PAG Asia Capital in a deal valued at $3.6 billion net of cash.

Among the laggards was Intel, which was down 2.4 percent at $30.84 after the chipmaker lowered its revenue forecast for the year.

Coca-Cola fell 1.3 percent to $46 after the company’s quarterly sales fell 4 percent.

Data due at 10 a.m. ET (1400 GMT) is expected to show existing home sales rose to 5.3 million in March, after dropping 7.1 percent in February. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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