* Oil prices touch 2016 highs
* Yellen comments help soothe nerves
* Valeant slumps on weak results, forecast cut
* Futures up: Dow 45 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 8.25 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
June 7 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set for a higher opening on Tuesday, a day after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen expressed confidence in the health of the economy, and as oil prices touched 2016 highs.
Yellen’s remarks, likely her last public comments before a policy meeting next week, sought to soothe nerves after a dismal monthly jobs report raised concerns about the economy’s health and its ability to absorb a rate hike as early as June.
The S&P 500, on Monday, closed at its highest this year as Yellen’s remarks helped ease those concerns, while underscoring views the Fed may be in no rush to raise rates.
The Fed Chair did say rates would be increased gradually, but did not ascribe a time-frame, a contrast to her comments on May 27 when she said a hike would be appropriate in the coming months due to the labor market’s strength and rising inflation.
Yellen’s cautious note weighed on the dollar, which in turn helped oil prices jump more than over 1 percent to 7-month highs.
“Oil is likely to lead the market higher today. There is a good possibility we may see the S&P make a new 52-week high as enthusiasm continues to build.” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
Dow e-minis were up 45 points, or 0.25 percent at 8:15 a.m. ET, with 18,048 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.19 percent, with 163,710 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 8.25 points, or 0.18 percent, on volume of 19,332 contracts.
Valeant’s shares slumped 16 percent to $24.15 premarket after the drugmaker posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and cut its full-year forecasts.
Biogen tumbled 8.8 percent after its keenly watched multiple sclerosis drug failed in a mid-stage study.
Ralph Lauren dropped 10 percent after the retailer said it would cut jobs, close stores and reduce its real estate as part of a plan to lower costs and revive sales growth.
Medical device maker LDR surged 63 percent after a $1 billion buyout offer from Zimmer, which was trading unchanged. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)