July 20, 2016 / 12:52 PM / in 2 years

US STOCKS-Dow, S&P poised for record high on strong earnings

* Dow on track for 9-straight day of gains

* Morgan Stanley up as profit tops expectations

* Microsoft gains after results handily beat estimates

* Futures up: Dow 51 pts, S&P 5 pts, Nasdaq 12.75 pts (Adds details, quotes, updates prices)

By Tanya Agrawal and Anya George Tharakan

July 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher on Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 on track to hit fresh records, as results from Morgan Stanley and Microsoft helped spur optimism about corporate earnings.

Microsoft was up 5.3 percent at $55.90 in premarket trading after its results handily beat expectations, ahead of a raft of earnings from other tech behemoths.

Morgan Stanley was up 3 percent at $29.05 after its profit topped analysts’ estimates, rounding off upbeat results from the six biggest Wall Street banks.

While the stock market has been on a record-settling rally, investors have been keeping a sharp eye on corporate earnings to see if they can help sustain the momentum.

A mixed bag of earnings reports and lowered expectations for global economic growth on Tuesday pulled the S&P 500 back from record highs. The Dow ended about three points shy of a record.

“For the rally to sustain we are going to need to see continued improvement in the earnings and economic activity,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

Dow e-minis were up 51 points, or 0.28 percent, with 24,122 contracts changing hands at 8:25 a.m. ET (1225 GMT). That set the Dow on track for its ninth straight day of gains.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.23 percent, with 153,407 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 12.75 points, or 0.28 percent, on volume of 20,979 contracts.

Second-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are now expected to fall by 4.3 percent, less than the 4.5 percent decline estimated earlier, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Intuitive Surgical was up 6.6 percent at $716 after the medical device maker’s profit beat estimates.

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.

Cardillo said investors should be prudent at current stock levels, given the uncertainty following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and other ongoing geopolitical concerns.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday cut its global growth forecasts for the next two years, citing uncertainty after the Brexit vote. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal and Anya George Tharakan; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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