April 3, 2017 / 11:32 AM / in a year

US STOCKS-Futures flat as earnings, Trump-Xi talks loom

* Futures up: Dow 10 pts, S&P 0.25 pts, Nasdaq 4.75 pts

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

April 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Monday, with investors awaiting the earnings season to see if corporate profits justify lofty valuations, and, more immediately, a meeting between President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping.

* Healthy corporate earnings could also further add to signs of an improving economy and encourage the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates.

* Among economic data due Monday is the Institute of Supply Management’s report, which is likely to show its national manufacturing index dipped to 57.0 in March from 57.7 in February. The report is due at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT).

* Another report due at the same time is one on U.S. construction spending, which is likely to show a 1 percent rebound in February, after a 1 percent fall in January.

* The week ends with an action-packed Friday when the Labor Department issues it March U.S. jobs report and President Trump meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida.

* “Despite the solid gains seen so far this year, there is some evidence that the rally in U.S. markets is looking a little tired given President Trump’s trials and tribulations in Congress,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

* “The reflation trade is likely to face a new test this week when President Trump entertains the Chinese leader Xi-Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago golf course in Florida, which in the words of President Trump himself could be a little ‘difficult’.”

* Wall Street ended a strong rally in the first quarter with a whimper on Friday as investors turned their attention to the impending earnings season.

* First-quarter earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to have risen about 10 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The index is trading at about 18 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months, above its long-term average of 15.

* Shares of Tesla were up 2.2 percent at $284.35 in premarket trading after the electric carmaker said on Sunday its vehicle deliveries increased 69 percent in the first quarter.

* Accenture was down 2.8 percent at $116.54 after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “sell”.

* Novocure jumped 39 percent to $11.25 after it reported positive data on a combination therapy to treat cancer after markets closed on Friday.

* Fed officials, including permanent policy voting member and New York Fed president, William Dudley, are scheduled to speak on Monday.

Futures snapshot at 6:55 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 10 points, or 0.05 percent, with 16,457 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 0.25 points, or 0.01 percent, with 95,101 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 4.75 points, or 0.09 percent, on volume of 17,944 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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