July 21, 2016 / 12:12 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Futures little changed ahead of raft of data, earnings

* Futures down: Dow 21 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 0.75 pts

By Tanya Agrawal

July 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday ahead of a flood of earnings reports and economic data, including the European Central Bank’s first meeting since the Brexit vote.

* The ECB is all but certain to keep rates firmly on hold, but will have to address an ever-growing list of obstacles that threaten once again to derail its efforts to revive growth and inflation. The rate decision is due at 7:45 a.m. ET (1145 GMT) and President Mario Draghi will hold a news conference at 8:30 a.m. ET.

* Wall Street gained on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 and Dow industrials hitting fresh records, as Microsoft’s strong results marked the latest sign that earnings season may be less dour than feared.

* However Intel, another Dow component, reported late Wednesday that revenue growth slowed at its data center business. Shares of the world’s largest chipmaker were down 3.3 percent at $34.51 in premarket trading.

* Second-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies, which began reporting in earnest this week, are now expected to fall by 3.8 percent, less than the 4.5 percent decline estimated earlier in the week, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

* Qualcomm was up 7.9 percent at $60.21 after it forecast current-quarter profit largely above market estimates.

* Biogen was up 2.9 percent at $270 after its results beat expectations.

* Mining equipment maker Joy Global jumped 18.1 percent to $27.81 after Japan’s Komatsu agreed to buy the company for about $3.7 billion.

* AT&T, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Visa and Starbucks among other are scheduled to report results after the bell.

* The recent record-setting rally, which has pushed the S&P 500 up more than 6 percent this year, has come despite concerns about global instability including Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union.

* Investors will also be keeping an eye on U.S. economic data for signs about the economy’s health. Weekly jobless claims is likely to increase but remain well below a level associated with a healthy labor market. The data is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET.

* A report from the National Association of Realtors, at 10 a.m. ET, is expected to show existing home sales fell to a 5.48 million-unit rate in June from a 5.53 million-unit pace in May.

Futures snapshot at 6:59 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were down 21 points, or 0.11 percent, with 15,439 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.09 percent, with 126,056 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 0.75 points, or 0.02 percent, on volume of 14,361 contracts. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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