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US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher as focus shifts to earnings
October 3, 2017 / 1:07 PM / 2 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher as focus shifts to earnings

* Lennar up 3 pct after strong results

* Futures: Dow up 31 pts, S&P 2.25 pts, Nasdaq up 7.75 pts (Adds comments, updates prices)

By Ankur Banerjee and Gayathree Ganesan

Oct 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open higher on Tuesday, a day after all the three main indexes hit new all-time highs, as investors digested robust economic data and turned their attention to the upcoming third-quarter corporate earnings.

Third-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to increase 6.2 percent from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters research, after rising a better-than-expected 12.3 percent in the second quarter.

U.S. stocks started the fourth quarter on a strong note on Monday after factory data pointed to underlying strength in the economy.

The encouraging data helped world shares touch their latest record highs on Tuesday, while lifting the dollar to its loftiest in 1-1/2 months.

“This year has been one of the strongest year ever, not from a percent gain standpoint, but from a lack of the correction or lack of a pullback,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of 50 Park Investments in New York.

“So to me, the market is cautiously optimistic.”

Gold fell to its lowest in seven weeks on Tuesday after the data reinforced expectations of another interest rate rise in the United States this year.

Investors are also watching out for progress on President Donald Trump’s tax reform plan, which calls for lowering corporate tax to 20 percent.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC on Tuesday that the odds of getting a tax plan passed are higher than what most people expect, but expressed uncertainty over the reforms.

Automakers are likely to in focus as they report their monthly sales data. Analysts expect September auto sales to be the highest in 2017, largely due to Americans in hurricane-ravaged cities replacing their damaged vehicles.

At 8:30 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 31 points, or 0.14 percent, with 18,824 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.25 points, or 0.09 percent, with 86,211 contracts traded, while Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7.75 points, or 0.13 percent, on volume of 21,723 contracts.

Shares in Tesla Inc were down 2 percent premarket after the luxury electric vehicle maker said its planned ramp-up for the new Model 3 mass-market sedan faced production bottlenecks.

Lennar Corp’s shares were up about 3 percent after the No.2 U.S. homebuilder reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit.

Tile Shop Holding’s shares plunged 30 percent after the natural stone retailer scrapped its 2017 forecast.

Federal Reserve Board Governor Jerome Powell scheduled to speak on “Regulatory Reform” at a Reuters Conversation on U.S. Financial Regulation in Washington. (Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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