May 2, 2019 / 11:32 AM / 18 days ago

US STOCKS-Futures eke out gains as investors look past Fed decision

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* Futures up: Dow 0.07%, S&P 0.18%, Nasdaq 0.29%

By Shreyashi Sanyal

May 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were modestly higher on Thursday, as investors looked past the Federal Reserve’s patient stance on monetary policy and awaited more earnings reports.

The benchmark S&P 500 index snapped a three-day streak of record high closes on Wednesday as comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell appeared to dampen expectations of an interest rate cut this year.

The Fed signaled little appetite to adjust rates any time soon, taking heart in continued job gains and economic growth and the likelihood that weak inflation will edge higher.

Traders of U.S. short-term interest rate futures trimmed bets the central bank would cut rates before the end of the year.

Investors were occupied by corporate earnings, in what is one of the season’s busiest weeks. Analysts now expect first-quarter earnings to rise 0.5% compared with a 2% fall estimated at the beginning of April, according to Refinitiv data.

At 7:16 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 18 points, or 0.07%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.25 points, or 0.18% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 22.5 points, or 0.29%.

In premarket trading, Under Armour Inc gained 4.1% after the sportswear maker raised its full-year profit forecast after posting strong quarterly earnings, benefiting from stronger demand from outside the United States.

Qualcomm Inc dropped 1% after the chipmaker blamed economic weakness in China for lower-than-expected third-quarter sales forecast.

Its stock has shot up about 50% since mid-April after the company won a legal dispute with Apple Inc, which allowed it to resume supplying chips for iPhones.

Square Inc fell 5.9% after the payments processor reported disappointing payment volume numbers in the first quarter even as results beat estimates.

HollyFrontier Corp rose 1.5% in light volumes, after the oil refiner topped profit expectations, as lower costs offset slightly weaker refining margins.

Data at 8:30 a.m. ET is expected to show a drop in initial jobless claims for the week ended April 27 from the week before.

Another set at 10 a.m. ET will likely show factory goods orders to have increased 1.5% in March after a fall of 0.5% in the month before.

Some hope emerged on the trade front after reports that the United States and China may be nearing a deal that would roll back some of the U.S. tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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