* Honeywell gains on qtrly profit beat
* P&G rises on surprise sales increase
* Apple rises after upgrade; FAANGs gain premarket
* Futures higher: Dow 0.36 pct, S&P 0.29 pct, Nasdaq 0.51 pct (Changes comment, adds details, updates prices)
By Medha Singh
Oct 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open higher on Friday as a handful of major U.S. companies posted strong results, helping to relieve concerns about political and growth risks in Europe and Saudi Arabia that drove a 1 percent fall a day earlier.
Consumer goods bellwether Procter & Gamble reported a surprise rise in first-quarter sales, sending its shares 4.9 percent higher in premarket trading, while industrial conglomerate Honeywell rose 2.1 percent after the boom in ecommerce drove bumper sales of warehouse machinery.
At 8:41 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 91 points, or 0.36 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.29 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 36.75 points, or 0.51 percent.
In a volatile week for stocks, any gains for the benchmark S&P 500 on Friday would snap a three-week losing streak.
“There have been macro concerns but results have been the biggest driver this week, and today is no different,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in New York.
Wall Street has had a rough ride over the past fortnight, suffering one of its worst two-day losses since 2015 on concerns over rising interest rates, trade tariffs and their impact on global growth and demand for stocks.
U.S. stocks fell more than 1 percent on Thursday, weighed down by the European Commission’s warning to Italy and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s decision to pull out of an investor conference in Saudi Arabia.
Among other gainers on strong results was PayPal, which climbed 7.6 percent after the payments company beat quarterly profit estimates, signing up more customers and raising volume of payments processed.
Schlumberger reversed earlier losses to trade 1.5 percent higher as its third-quarter profit increased on higher oilfield services demand.
Interpublic Group jumped 5.5 percent after the U.S. advertising firm beat quarterly revenue estimates, benefiting from higher client spending worldwide.
Honeywell’s beat on profit, however, followed a batch of disappointing results from industrial companies a day earlier that did little to soothe worries over the impact of tariffs, rising borrowing costs and wages on corporate profits.
Earnings growth for S&P 500 companies is expected to have increased 22 percent in the third quarter, a slowdown from the first half, according to Refinitiv data. Of the 69 companies that have reported earnings so far, 78.3 percent have beaten expectations.
Apple rose 1.2 percent as it began taking pre-orders for its new iPhone XR and Wedbush upgraded the stock expecting the company to benefit from more customers upgrading their phones. Other members of the FAANG group also gained nearly a percent.
Walt Disney rose 1.4 percent after Barclays upgraded its shares to “over weight”, saying its purchase of $71 billion of assets from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc may mark a turning point for the company. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)