June 8, 2016 / 12:57 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set for higher open as oil rally continues

* AbbVie falls on Morgan Stanley downgrade

* Gold price rise boost miners premarket

* Futures up: Dow 35 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 8.75 pts (Adds details, comments, updates prices)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

June 8 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set for a slightly higher open on Wednesday, a day after the S&P closed at a near 11-month high, as oil prices rose again and chances of an interest rate hike in the near term faded.

Oil held above $50 for the second consecutive day on supply disruptions in Nigeria, a drop in U.S. crude inventories and strong demand in China.

Gains in energy stocks on Tuesday pushed the Dow above the 18,000 mark for the first time since April, while the S&P rose to within 23 points of its record high.

The S&P has gained 3.3 percent since the start of the year. Investors are now on the lookout for new catalysts that could drive the index beyond the record high it touched in May 2015.

A few concurrent bullish events such as demand for commodities and the S&P and Dow breaching key resistance areas will likely keep the markets hovering close to record highs, said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital.

“Also oil has almost doubled in price in about 3-4 months. This sort of massive move shows that big institutions are buying the commodity and not just individual investors,” Sarhan said.

Dow e-minis were up 35 points, or 0.2 percent at 8:06 a.m. ET, with 14,514 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.19 percent, with 127,148 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 8.75 points, or 0.19 percent, on volume of 12,234 contracts.

While the Dow and S&P gained on Tuesday, a slump in biotechs weighed on the Nasdaq, which is the only one of the three major indexes that is lower for the year. The index is off 0.9 percent year-to-date.

Investors have all but priced out an interest rate hike when Federal Reserve officials meet on June 14-15, after surprisingly weak monthly jobs data last Friday.

Waning prospects of a near-term rate hike pushed the dollar lower for the fourth day in a row, which in turn boosted commodities. Gold rose to a near three-week high.

Miners Freeport rose 3.1 percent premarket, while Newmont rose 3.5 percent. They were among the top percentage gainers among S&P 500 components.

AbbVie fell 1.4 percent to $62.22. Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to “equal-weight” from “overweight”.

LendingClub jumped nearly 7 percent after Reuters reported that ousted CEO Renaud Laplanche was in talks to takeover the online lender. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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