July 24, 2017 / 11:38 AM / 8 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures lower ahead of busy earnings week

* Futures down: Dow 17 pts, S&P 3 pts, Nasdaq 5.75 pts

By Tanya Agrawal

July 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were slightly lower on Monday as the earnings season gathered pace, while investors awaited a two-day Federal Reserve meeting that starts on Tuesday.

* Tech giant Alphabet will report results after market close. Amazon and Facebook are due to report results later this week.

* The S&P 500 technology sector slipped on Friday after posting two consecutive record closing highs. The Nasdaq Composite was on track to cap a 10-day streak of gains, its best since February 2015, after closing at a record high on Thursday.

* Tech continues to be the best performing S&P sector this year, despite concerns about stretched valuations.

* Analysts expect S&P 500 earnings to have climbed 9.6 percent from a year earlier, above the 8 percent rise projected at the start of the month, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

* The market will also keep an eye on political developments in Washington, with rising doubts about President Donald Trump’s ability to legislate his pro-growth policies after the failure of the healthcare bill.

* The International Monetary Fund shaved its forecasts for U.S. growth to 2.1 percent for both 2017 and 2018, slightly lower from its earlier projections of 2.3 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, on lack of details regarding the Trump administration’s stimulus measures.

* The Federal Reserve will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday. Although there are no expectations of an interest rate hike, the market will await the Fed’s statement for clues regarding the path of future rate hikes.

* The Markit U.S Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for July is expected to come in at 52.1, compared with 52.0 in the previous month. The data is expected at 9:45 a.m. ET (1345 GMT).

* The National Association of Realtors is likely to say that existing home sales dropped to 5.57 million units in June. U.S. home resales unexpectedly rose in May to 5.62 million units.

* Shares of Halliburton were up 2.5 percent after the oilfield services provider swung to a quarterly profit.

* Hasbro was down 1.2 percent despite the toymaker’s results beating estimates.

* WebMD Health jumped 17.8 percent after KKR & Co agreed to buy the U.S. online health publisher in a deal valued at about $2.8 billion. KKR was up 3.2 percent.

Futures snapshot at 7:10 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were down 17 points, or 0.08 percent, with 14,593 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 3 points, or 0.12 percent, with 119,267 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 5.75 points, or 0.1 percent, on volume of 18,954 contracts. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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