October 26, 2017 / 11:39 AM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures higher with earnings in focus

* Futures: Dow 18 pts, S&P 1.25 pts, Nasdaq 3.5 pts

By Sruthi Shankar

Oct 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher on Thursday, with investors bracing for a flood of major corporate results in one of the busiest days for the third-quarter earnings season.

* Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft and Intel are among the biggest corporate names set to report results later in the day.

* Investors are also keeping an eye on a European Central Bank meeting, where it is expected to announce a plan to cut back on its bond-buying stimulus.

* Earnings so far have been largely positive, with 72.1 percent of the 165 S&P 500 companies that reported as of Wednesday topping expectations and matching the average for the past four quarters.

* However, with U.S. indexes at record levels, investors are taking a closer look at earnings to see if they justify stretched valuations.

* Wall Street fell on Wednesday, with the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 indexes suffering their worst day in seven weeks, on a batch of soft quarterly earnings and a rise in bond yields.

* President Donald Trump was still considering keeping current Fed Chair Janet Yellen in the position, he said in a Fox Business interview. Trump is expected to announce his Fed chair candidate before his Asian trip in early November.

* A Labor Department report is likely to show weekly jobless claims increased to 235,000 for the week ended Oct. 21, after falling to its lowest level in more than 44 years the week before. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET

* Among early movers, Buffalo Wild Wings Inc jumped 19 percent after the chicken-wing restaurant reported quarterly profit that beat estimates.

* Amgen fell 1.41 percent after the company posted upbeat earnings but reported weaker-than-expected sales of a new drug.

* Twitter jumped 7 percent after the company said it could turn its first ever profit in the fourth quarter, helped by sweeping cuts in expenses and finding new sources of revenue.

* Ford gained 1.58 percent after reporting a better-than-expected profit, driven by sales of high-margin pickup trucks and SUVs in the U.S. market and cost cutting.

Futures snapshot at 7:00 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 18 points, or 0.08 percent, with 14,902 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.25 points, or 0.05 percent, with 118,226 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 3.5 points, or 0.06 percent, on volume of 18,976 contracts. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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