October 27, 2016 / 11:37 AM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Futures rise as earnings continue to be prime focus

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Oct 27 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday as investors focused on the third-quarter corporate results season which is expected to mark an end to a year-long earnings recession.

* Profits at S&P 500 companies have largely exceeded analysts’ estimates for the third quarter so far, setting up for the first profit growth since the second quarter of 2015.

* Overall earnings for the S&P 500 companies in the latest quarter are expected to rise 2.2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

* Financial companies are expected to outshine the rest of the benchmark index, while the energy sector will most likely be the top laggard.

* Apple’s weak results and forecast weighed on the S&P and the Nasdaq on Wednesday, while a rally in Boeing lifted the Dow.

* Investors will also keep an eye on a set of economic data on Thursday, including a report on initial jobless claims that likely fell to 250,000 last week. Another report is expected to show U.S. manufactured capital goods likely rose for a fourth straight month. Both reports are due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).

* The data will play into the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates at its policy meeting next week. Though a rate hike is not the likely outcome of the meeting that falls days before the U.S. presidential election, traders expect the Fed to chalk a more definite path for a move in December.

* Shares of NXP Semiconductors rose 3.3 percent to $101.90 in premarket trading after Qualcomm said it would buy the chipmaker for $47 billion in enterprise value. Qualcomm rose 2.1 percent. Fellow chipmaker Micron Tech also rose.

* Google parent Alphabet and online retailer Amazon.com were up about 0.5 percent ahead of quarterly results scheduled after market close.

* Tesla jumped 5.24 percent to $212.83 after the electric carmaker reported its first quarterly net profit in more than three years.

* Bristol-Myers rose nearly 4 percent after the drugmaker reported third-quarter revenue that beat estimates and increased its full-year profit forecast.

Futures snapshot at 7:00 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 25 points, or 0.14 percent, with 29,662 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.25 points, or 0.2 percent, with 154,670 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 8.75 points, or 0.18 percent, on volume of 24,336 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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