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* Consumer spending in March posts biggest gain since 2009
* Disney up after stellar ‘Avengers: Endgame’ movie debut
* Boeing drops, CEO to face shareholders at 10 a.m. ET
* Futures flat: Dow 0.03%, S&P 0.00%, Nasdaq 0.02% (Updates prices, adds comments)
By Shreyashi Sanyal
April 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were trading flat on Monday after hitting a closing high in the previous session, as investors waited for a fresh batch of earnings reports while sentiment was supported by upbeat consumer spending data.
A Commerce Department report showed domestic consumer spending rose by the most in more than 9-1/2 years in March, but price pressures remained muted.
However, the core personal consumption expenditures price index, which excludes the volatile food and energy components and is the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, remained steady at 0.1% in March.
“We are coming off a weak patch in the consumer sector, so you have to take the data with a grain of salt, the sector was hit by the partial government shutdown, so some of this strength is a rebound from that,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“There’s a little bit of caution, we’ve got a lot of information coming down the pipe this week, especially the Fed meeting.”
The Federal Open Market Committee will announce its interest rate decision at the end of a two-day meeting, starting Tuesday.
In yet another busy week for earnings, about 160 S&P 500 companies, including Google-parent Alphabet Inc and Apple Inc, are due to report their quarterly reports.
Analysts now expect profits of S&P 500 companies to fall 0.3%, a sharp improvement from a 2% fall estimated at the beginning of the month, according to Refinitiv data.
As trade talks enter their last leg, U.S. negotiators head to China on Tuesday to try to hammer out details to end the protracted tariff spat between the two countries.
Hopes of a trade resolution and a dovish Fed has sparked a rally in stocks from a slump late last year, putting the S&P 500 index just 0.04% shy of its all-time high of 2,940.91 points hit in September.
At 8:59 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.03%. S&P 500 e-minis remained unchanged and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 1.25 points, or 0.02%.
Among stocks, Walt Disney Co rose 1.5% after the debut of “Avengers: Endgame” over the weekend pushed total ticket sales for the superhero spectacle to $1.2 billion, crushing records in dozens of countries.
Boeing Co dipped 0.9%. Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg will meet Boeing shareholders for the first time on Monday since two fatal crashes that led to the 737 MAX’s grounding worldwide.
Alphabet Inc edged up 0.2% ahead of its results after the bell, while Apple, which is set to report on Tuesday, dipped 0.1%. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Arun Koyyur)