October 25, 2016 / 11:27 AM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Futures flat as investors assess earnings; Apple eyed

* Futures up: Dow 15 pts, S&P 0.5 pts, Nasdaq 4.5 pts

By Tanya Agrawal

Oct 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Tuesday as investors await earnings reports from a host of companies, including Apple.

* Dow component Merck rose 2.2 percent to $62.10 in premarket trading after the company reported a 19.6 percent rise in quarterly net profit..

* Apple, which is scheduled to report results after the close of the bell, was up 0.46 percent at $118.19.

* Annualized third-quarter earnings from S&P 500 components are expected to have risen 1.1 percent, following four quarters of contraction, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Of the 120 companies that have reported so far, 78 percent have beaten analyst expectations, above the long-term average of 63.5 percent.

* Investors will also be keeping an eye on consumer confidence numbers for October which are expected to have fallen slightly. That data is expected at 10 a.m. ET (1400 GMT).

* The S&P 500 hit a two-week high on Monday, helped by strong earnings, while a flurry of acquisitions indicated corporate America continues to see untapped value in the market.

* Global stocks were also higher on Tuesday as upbeat economic data and signs of a revival in inflation pushed up stocks and commodity prices and kept the dollar at a nine-month high.

* Oil edged up ahead of the release of U.S. crude inventory data, which in recent weeks has provided bullish surprises, but top-level comments from OPEC members regarding chances of an output cut kept a lid on prices.

* The dollar index was little changed at 98.76 against a basket of major currencies, after touching its highest level since early February, last week. A strong dollar could dent the earnings of large multinationals.

* Whirlpool fell 4.3 percent at $163.10 after the home appliances maker’s revenue took a hit from a strong dollar.

* Eli Lilly was down 2.8 percent at $75.40 after the drugmaker’s third-quarter revenue came in below Wall Street estimates.

Futures snapshot at 7:04 a.m. ET:

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 0.5 points, or 0.02 percent, with 73,482 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 4.5 points, or 0.09 percent, on volume of 15,068 contracts.

* Dow e-minis were up 15 points, or 0.08 percent, with 12,852 contracts changing hands. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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