January 29, 2018 / 2:11 PM / 9 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to dip at open, Apple likely to weigh

* Apple drops on reports of slowing iPhone X production

* Dr Pepper Snapple soars on deal to merge with Keurig

* Lockheed Martin higher after upbeat 2018 earnings forecast

* Facebook, Amazon to report this week; payroll data due

* Futures down: Dow 40 pts, S&P 6.25 pts, Nasdaq 15.25 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Tanya Agrawal

Jan 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks looked set for a softer opening on Monday, easing from record levels hit last week and as investors brace for a busy week in terms of earnings and economic reports.

Also likely to weigh was Apple’s 0.76 percent drop in premarket trading after the Nikkei reported the company would make half the number of iPhone Xs than planned this quarter. Apple is set to report results later this week.

U.S. Treasury yields were at multi-year highs, extending gains from last week on the back of strong economic data and as investors braced for major central banks to step back from ultra-easy monetary policies.

The Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting starts Tuesday. And while no interest rate hike is expected, outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s last statement will be scrutinized for clues on the future path of rate hikes.

The nonfarm payrolls report on Friday is also expected to show the U.S. economy added more jobs in January than in December.

Besides Apple, heavyweights Alphabet, Facebook , Microsoft and Amazon are to report results this week, as are Dow components Pfizer and DowDuPont.

“The upcoming results should provide further evidence of a strong earnings season under way,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York, wrote in a client note.

“Investors’ confidence remains strong and it is likely to strengthen. However, the amount of money being poured into stocks is one more reason to be more cautious than ever.”

At 8:33 a.m. ET (1330 GMT), Dow e-minis were down 40 points, or 0.15 percent, with 47,228 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were down 6.25 points, or 0.22 percent, with 180,289 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 15.25 points, or 0.22 percent, on volume of 50,122 contracts.

The three major U.S. indexes are coming off their best four-week run since 2016, propelled by strong earnings and economic data.

Fourth-quarter earnings growth for the S&P 500 is now estimated at 13.2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data, up from 12 percent at the start of the year.

A Commerce Department report Monday showed consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, increased 0.4 percent last month – in line with estimates and compared with November’s 0.8 percent rise.

Among stocks, Lockheed Martin rose 3.2 percent in premarket trading after the weapons supplier forecast higher 2018 earnings.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group soared 38.7 percent after K-cup maker Keurig Green Mountain said it will buy the soda maker.

Avon Products was up 12.8 percent after a group of its shareholders asked the cosmetics maker to explore strategic alternatives, including a possible sale. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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