January 9, 2018 / 2:12 PM / in a year

US STOCKS-S&P, Dow set for record open as focus shifts to corporate earnings

* Microsoft halts some AMD chip Meltdown patches after PCs freeze

* Target joins retailers that recorded strong holiday sales

* Oil hits highest since May 2015 above $68 on tighter market

* Futures up: Dow 60 pts, S&P 3.5 pts, Nasdaq 0.19 pts (Adds comment, details on companies, updates prices)

By Sruthi Shankar

Jan 9 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow were on track for a record open on Tuesday, keeping alive the 2018 rally powered by robust economic data and expectations of strong quarterly earnings.

A handful of retailers such as Target, Kohl’s Corp and Lululemon Athletica have already reported solid rise in same-store sales for the holiday period and raised their profit forecasts for the fourth quarter.

U.S. stocks also found support from gains across global stock markets in the day, buoyed by upbeat industrial production data from Germany and jump in oil prices.

Oil rose above $68 a barrel, touching its highest since May 2015, supported by OPEC-led production cuts and expectations of lower U.S. crude inventories.

“we are looking at a quiet day, with no major news. But investors are starting to prepare for the next round of earnings that could keep the market on fire,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

“People are going to look for what is going to create opportunity for more money to flow into equity.”

At 8:29 a.m. ET (1329 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 60 points, or 0.24 percent, with 19,077 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 3.5 points, or 0.13 percent, with 107,978 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 13 points, or 0.19 percent, on volume of 22,376 contracts.

The winning streak of U.S. stocks had dimmed a bit on Monday but gains in technology, utilities and real estate stocks helped the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq end higher.

Investors are waiting for the start of the quarterly earnings season for more readings on the impact of recent tax cuts and profit forecasts for the rest of the year.

Earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to rise 11.8 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an 8 percent increase a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Among stocks, Target jumped about 4 percent in premarket trading after the retailer said its same-store sales for November and December rose 3.4 percent.

Advanced Micro Devices slipped 1.6 percent after Microsoft suspended patches to guard against security threats for computers running AMD chipsets after complaints that the software updates froze their machines.

GoPro fell 2 percent, extending losses from Monday after the action camera-maker flagged a weak holiday quarter that triggered sale talks. The company said it was not actively trying to sell itself but would be willing to partner with a larger sector player.

PayPal climbed 1.2 percent after Cowen & Co upgraded the digital payments company’s stock to outperform.

The U.S. Labor Department is set to release data on job openings and labor turnover for November at 10:00 a.m. ET. Job openings are expected to have risen to 6.038 million from 5.996 million in October. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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