March 29, 2018 / 12:11 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures rise as tech stocks gain; inflation data awaited

* Futures up: Dow 78 pts, S&P 9.75 pts, Nasdaq 41.75 pts

By Sruthi Shankar

March 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, as investors await key inflation data and as beaten down technology stocks posted slim gains after a roller coaster week for Wall Street.

The three major indexes are on track to log their worst quarter in more than two years on concerns over a global trade war and interest rates hikes, and Facebook Inc’s data scandal that hit other companies dealing with user information.

Shares of the so-called FANG group - Facebook, Amazon , Netflix and Alphabet – were up between 0.60 and 1.6 percent in premarket trading.

Including Apple the FAANGs are still up 14 percent so far this year, but privacy concerns in the wake of Facebook’s scandal nearly two week back has wiped $400 billion off their value.

Economic data due includes a report that is expected to show personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, excluding food and energy, increased 0.2 percent in February, after a 0.3 percent advance in January.

Core PCE, the Federal Reserve’s favored gauge of inflation, is expected to have risen 1.6 percent on an annualized basis after rising 1.5 percent in January.

Another report is expected to show consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in February, matching January’s gains. The two U.S. Commerce Department reports are due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Investors have been jittery that rising inflation will force the Fed to accelerate rate hikes.

Dow e-minis were up 78 points, S&P 500 e-minis rose 9.75 points and Nasdaq 100 e-minis gained 41.75 points.

The S&P 500 is down 2.56 percent in the first quarter, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average is 3.5 percent lower - set for their worst quarterly performances in more than two years.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq’s slim 0.66 percent gain for the quarter is keeping it on course for its seventh straight quarter of gains.

Facebook was up 1.6 percent. The company said late on Wednesday it would end partnerships with several large data brokers who help advertisers target users.

GameStop shares fell 2.8 percent after the company reported revenue that beat analysts’ estimates on strong sales of Nintendo Switch consoles. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru)

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