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* Microsoft gains on upbeat cloud sales forecast
* Lam Research leads gains among chip stocks
* Twitter plunges on weak results
* Futures up: Dow 0.18%, S&P 500 0.20%, Nasdaq 0.58% (Adds details; updates market action)
By Shreyashi Sanyal
Oct 24 (Reuters) - Wall Street was on course to open higher on Thursday, as solid results from Microsoft, Lam Research and Tesla lifted sentiment following lackluster reports from big bellwether companies in the previous session.
Third-quarter earnings reports are center stage as investors try to gauge the fallout from a drawn out U.S.-China trade war, which has already shown up in the domestic economy.
But the narrative so far has been fairly upbeat, with only a small crop of companies including industrial giant Caterpillar , toymaker Hasbro Inc and chipmaker Texas Instruments blaming the tariff moves for denting results.
Tech giant Microsoft Corp gained 1.1% premarket as its forecast for cloud computing services surpassed analysts’ expectations. Tesla Inc surged 18% after a surprise quarterly profit.
Lam Research Corp jumped 7% after the chip gear maker forecast strong results for the December quarter.
Semiconductor shares including those of Microchip Technology , Micron and Nvidia looked set to recover from a selloff in the previous session, sparked by a revenue warning from industry proxy Texas Instruments.
But Twitter Inc plunged nearly 20% after the social media platform posted worse-than-expected third quarter results.
Of the 124 S&P 500 companies that reported results up to Wednesday, more than 82% topped earnings estimates, according to Refinitiv data.
The S&P 500 index came within a hair’s breadth of its record high this week on upbeat corporate earnings so far and signs of progress in resolving trade tensions between the world’s top two economies.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Thursday the phase-one trade deal between Washington and Beijing would include much of an agreement scrapped in May around intellectual property.
Market participants are keeping close tabs on the health of the domestic economy after data earlier in October showed a sharp contraction in manufacturing and services-sector activity slowing to a three-year low.
Markit PMI surveys for the manufacturing and services sectors, due 9:45 a.m. ET, will offer further clarity after a mixed bag of business sentiment indicators from major economies including Japan and the euro zone.
At 8:55 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 47 points, or 0.18%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 6 points, or 0.2% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 45.75 points, or 0.58%.
Comcast Corp and Dow Inc gained 3% each after the two companies exceeded profit estimates.
PayPal Holdings Inc jumped 8% after the payment processing platform forecast full-year profit above expectations.
Post-it notes maker 3M Co fell 2% after cutting its full-year profit forecast and missing third-quarter revenue estimates.
Amazon.com Inc, Intel Corp and Visa Inc are among the high-profile companies slated to report after markets close on Thursday. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Anil S’Silva)