* S&P 500 hit record close Friday after three weeks of gains
* Apple to report results after market closes
* Sept pending home sales on tap, seen rising 0.1 percent
* Futures up: Dow 45 pts, S&P 2.4 pts, Nasdaq 9.75 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Oct 28 U.S. stock index futures edged
higher on Monday, indicating that the rally that took major
indexes to record highs would continue as investors continued to
digest corporate earnings results.
* The S&P 500 has hit a series of record highs over the past
two weeks, including ending at a record on Friday. However,
further gains may be harder to come by given the length and
speed of the market's advance this year.
* The gains have largely come on the back of expectations
that the U.S. Federal Reserve wouldn't slow its accommodative
monetary policies for several months. The Fed's policy-making
committee ends a two-day meeting on Wednesday, and it is
considered extremely unlikely that the policies will be slowed.
* Corporate earnings have also given investors reason to
buy. While the season has been mixed overall, especially for
revenue, bellwether names like Microsoft and Amazon.com
rallied last week.
* Earnings will continue to be in focus this week,
especially Apple Inc, the largest U.S. company by
market cap, which reports after the market closes. Shares of the
tech titan are slightly lower on the year, and investors are
looking to see the sales strength of its low-cost iPhone.
* Based on results so far and estimates for companies still
to report, S&P 500 earnings are expected to have risen just 3.4
percent in the third quarter, with 69 percent of companies
reporting earnings above analysts' expectations. Revenue growth
is seen at 2.2 percent for the quarter, with just 54.2 percent
beating sales estimates, below the long-term average of 61
percent, Thomson Reuters data showed.
* On Monday, S&P 500 futures rose 2.4 points and were
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 added
45 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 9.75 points.
* The S&P 500 is up 23.4 percent so far this year, just shy
of the 23.5 percent gain it posted in 2009. Surpassing the 2009
record would give the index its biggest annual gain in a decade.
* Much of those gains have come recently, with both the Dow
and S&P 500 posting their third straight week of gains last
week. The Nasdaq has climbed for seven of the past eight weeks
while the Russell 2000 index of small cap stocks
registered its eighth week of gains last week, its longest
streak since 2003.
* The climb could suggest that equities are vulnerable to a
pullback, especially if corporate earnings disappoint.
* Investors will also look ahead to September pending home
sales, due at 10 a.m., which are seen rising 0.1 percent, a
rebound from the 1.6 percent decline last month.
* In company news, cable television network AMC Networks Inc
on Monday said it agreed to buy Chellomedia, the
international content unit of Liberty Global Inc, for
about $1.04 billion.