US STOCKS-Wall Street to edge higher at open after selloff

Tue Apr 8, 2014 8:50am EDT

* Eli Lilly ordered to pay $3 bln in damages in Actos case

* Alcoa earnings due after the close

* Futures up: Dow 10 pts, S&P 1.5 pts, Nasdaq up 9.5 pts (Updates prices)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, April 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open slightly higher on Tuesday, putting the S&P on track to halt a three-session selloff, as investors look to the start of corporate earnings season.

* The S&P 500 suffered its biggest three-day drop in two months and the Nasdaq posted its worst three-day decline since November 2011 on Monday as investors bid down Internet stocks and rotated into defensive names.

* The recent slump has pushed the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 into negative territory for the year.

* Earnings season gets under way this week, with results due from companies including Alcoa Inc after the close, retailer Bed, Bath & Beyond on Wednesday, while financials JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co close out the week with results on Friday.

* S&P 500 companies' first-quarter earnings are projected to have increased just 1.1 percent from a year ago, Thomson Reuters data showed. The forecast is down sharply from the start of the year, when profit growth was estimated at 6.5 percent.

* A lackluster first-quarter earnings season hurt by a harsh winter could spark a pullback, some analysts said, with investors expressing optimism for the second quarter as weather improves.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures gained 1.5 points and were slightly above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures advanced 10 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 9.5 points.

* A U.S. jury ordered Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd to pay $6 billion in punitive damages and Eli Lilly and Co to pay $3 billion in a case claiming that cancer risks to the diabetes drug Actos were concealed, the plaintiffs' lawyer said. Eli Lily shares lost 1.6 percent to $57.70 before the opening bell.

* Gigamon Inc slumped 22.4 percent to $20.33 in premarket trade after the maker of network traffic management software, estimated lower-than-expected first-quarter revenue.

* Alkermes Plc said its experimental drug to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia met the main goal in a late-stage study. Its shares gained 7.1 percent to $44 in premarket.

* Citigroup Inc edged up 0.2 percent to $46.63 in premarket. The bank said it would pay $1.12 billion in cash to settle legacy securities and other claims and incur a related charge of $100 million in the first quarter. . (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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