August 9, 2018 / 11:43 AM / 4 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures edge higher; S&P flirting with record high

* Futures: Dow flat, S&P up 0.06 pct, Nasdaq up 0.05 pct

By Amy Caren Daniel

Aug 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures ticked higher on Thursday, with the S&P 500 aiming at a fresh record, as the second-quarter earnings season winds down on a strong note.

Futures implied the benchmark index would open at 2,859.95, about 13 points away from the record, which it last hit in late January.

A strong earnings season has kept up the momentum in the markets, helping cushion major blows from trade-related issues.

Of the 440 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported so far, 78.6 percent have beaten analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of U.S.-listed Chinese stocks were higher in premarket trading, tracking a rebound in Shanghai stocks.

JD.com rose 0.4 percent and Baidu 0.8 percent.

Among other movers, Century Link jumped 4.4 percent after reporting quarterly results.

Twenty-First Century Fox climbed 0.2 percent after its quarterly profit and revenue topped estimates, helped by the popularity of superhero movie “Deadpool 2”.

Rite Aid fell 10.9 percent and was the most heavily traded stock after the drug store chain and U.S. grocer Albertsons Cos agreed to terminate their merger agreement.

Perrigo fell 8.3 percent after its board approved a plan to separate its Prescription Pharmaceuticals business and after the generic drugmaker reported quarterly results.

At 7:00 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 1 points, or -0 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.75 points, or 0.06 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.05 percent.

Investors are also eyeing inflation numbers to gauge the impact of tariffs on pricing and for clues on the path of interest rate hikes.

A U.S. Labor Department report is expected to show producer price index for final demand rose 0.2 percent for July from 0.3 percent in June. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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