August 1, 2016 / 1:03 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open slightly higher

* ISM manufacturing data expected at 10 a.m. ET

* SolarCity falls after Tesla says will merge the companies

* Fleetmatics jumps after Verizon’s $2.4 bln buyout offer

* Futures up: Dow 31 pts, S&P 2.5 pts, Nasdaq 6 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Tanya Agrawal

Aug 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open slightly higher on Monday, the first trading day of the month, as the chances of a near-term interest rate hike faded following weak economic growth data last week.

The S&P 500 index hit a new intra-day high on Friday for the seventh time in a month, while the Nasdaq ended July with a rise of 6.6 percent.

Growth in U.S. gross domestic product in the second quarter came in below expectations, fuelling speculation that the Federal Reserve may not pull the trigger on rates anytime soon.

The chance of a hike by the year end fell to about 33 percent after the GDP numbers were released, according to CME Fedwatch, down from about 50 percent early last week.

“After the GDP data that we saw last week, the Fed will definitely skip September,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

“However, the underlying strength of the economy is strong as evidenced by the robust consumer spending numbers. August though generally tends to be a wishy-washy month, and the market is expected to move mainly on economic news.”

S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.5 points, or 0.12 percent, with 158,746 contracts traded at 8:36 a.m. ET (1236 GMT). Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 6 points, or 0.13 percent, on volume of 21,309 contracts. Dow e-minis were up 31 points, or 0.17 percent, with 22,946 contracts changing hands.

Investors will continue to keep an eye on corporate results, where aggregate quarterly earnings of S&P 500 companies are now expected to fall 3 percent, compared with a 3.7 percent decline estimated earlier, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Data expected on Monday include a forecast from the Institute for Supply Management for its national factory index, which is expected to be 53 in July, compared with 53.2 in June. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector. The data is due at 10 a.m. ET (1400 GMT).

The monthly non-farm employment report is expected on Friday and the Bank of England meets on Thursday.

Oil prices fell about 1 percent as a rise in OPEC production and U.S. oil rig additions continued to weigh on the market.

SolarCity fell 6.2 percent to $25.05 in premarket trading, reversing from an earlier gain, after Tesla said the two companies have agreed to merge. Tesla was marginally lower at $235.00.

AMC Entertainment was down 6.9 percent at $27.40 after the movie theater chain’s second-quarter results missed expectations.

Fleetmatics jumped 39.3 percent to $59.85 after Verizon said it will buy the GPS vehicle tracking company for about $2.4 billion. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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