* Futures up: Dow 61 pts, S&P 6.5 pts, Nasdaq 15 pts
By Tanya Agrawal and Anya George Tharakan
July 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Wednesday, with the Dow industrials on track for its ninth straight day of gains, as results from Morgan Stanley and Microsoft helped spur investor optimism regarding the health of corporate earnings.
* Morgan Stanley was up 3.2 percent at $29.08 in premarket trading after the investment bank’s profit topped analysts’ estimates.
* Microsoft was up 4.3 percent at $55.39 after its quarterly results handily beat expectations, ahead of a raft of earnings from other tech behemoths.
* The S&P 500 pulled back from record highs on Tuesday, as investors digested mixed earnings reports amid lowered expectations for global economic growth.
* While the stock market has been on a record-settling rally, investors have been keeping a sharp eye on earnings to see if the earnings season can help sustain the momentum.
* Second-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are now expected to fall by 4.3 percent, down from the 4.5 percent decline estimated earlier, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
* Intel, eBay and American Express are scheduled to report results after the bell.
* The dollar eased after hitting a 4-month high as positive U.S. housing data on Tuesday spurred bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve may raise interest rates at the end of the year.
* Fed funds futures rates show investors see almost a 50/50 chance that the U.S. central bank will raise rates by its December meeting, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool. The odds stood at less than 20 percent a few weeks ago.
Futures snapshot at 7:08 a.m. ET (1108 GMT):
* Dow e-minis were up 61 points, or 0.33 percent, with 21,628 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 6.5 points, or 0.3 percent, with 128,178 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 15 points, or 0.33 percent, on volume of 18,030 contracts. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal and Anya George Tharakan; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)