January 25, 2019 / 2:07 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher as investors focus on upbeat earnings

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* Starbucks, Western Digital rise premarket after results

* Senate looking for a way to end government shutdown

* Intel drops as China slowdown hits earnings, forecast

* Futures up: Dow 0.77 pct, S&P 0.81 pct, Nasdaq 1.06 pct (Updates prices, adds comments, background)

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Jan 25 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to gain at the open on Friday, as upbeat earnings reports lifted optimism, which has recently been hit by worries about global economic growth, U.S. government shutdown and uncertainty around U.S.-China trade talks.

A strong start to the year was stalled this week by growth worries. But with fourth-quarter earnings largely exceeding Wall Street expectations, the benchmark S&P 500 is holding near one-month highs.

News that the U.S. Senate was looking for a way to end a partial U.S. government shutdown, entering its 35th day, also added to the mood.

“The indices are pointing to a solid jump at the opening on renewed talks to end shutdown and earnings that are for the most part beating expectations,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities, in a client note.

Starbucks Corp shares rose 3.7 percent in premarket trading as the popularity of its holiday-themed drinks in the United States helped quarterly sales top analysts’ expectations.

Western Digital Corp, which missed estimates for quarterly results due to weak demand for its data storage devices, rose 10.3 percent after the company said its revenue would improve in the second half of the year.

Shares of rival Seagate Technology climbed 3.5 percent.

Three-fourth of the 97 S&P 500 companies that have reported quarterly results have surpassed profit estimates, according to Refinitiv data. That is above the historical average of 64 percent.

Semiconductor stocks, which have taken a beating after Apple Inc’s sales warnings, led Wall Street’s rally on Thursday on better-than-feared results from chipmakers, including Xilinx Inc and Lam Research Corp.

However, Intel Corp’s dismal current-quarter forecast, which it blamed on a slowdown in China and sluggish demand for its data center and modem chips, sent its shares down 6.8 percent.

At 8:45 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 189 points, or 0.77 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 21.25 points, or 0.81 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 70.75 points, or 1.06 percent.

Investors are bracing for an event-packed week ahead, which includes the Federal Reserve’s first monetary policy meeting this year, U.S. jobs data, another round of trade talks and reports from several tech giants as well as Boeing Co.

Top Trump administration officials are scheduled to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu on Jan.30 and 31 in Washington as the two counties try to meet a March 1 deadline to resolve their trade disputes.

Among other stocks, Colgate-Palmolive Co dropped 2.2 percent after the toothpaste maker forecast a decline in 2019 earnings as it spent more on advertising, while battling higher commodity costs.

AbbVie Inc fell 3.4 percent after the drugmaker posted a quarterly profit below estimates, as it cut prices of its top-selling drug, Humira. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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