January 17, 2018 / 2:08 PM / in 5 months

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher with bank earnings in focus

* BofA 4th-qtr profit benefits from higher interest rates

* Goldman Sachs slips on trading revenue weakness

* Apple slips after brokerage downgrade

* Futures up: Dow 98 pts, S&P 9.25 pts, Nasdaq 22.75 pts (Adds comment, details, updates prices)

By Sruthi Shankar

Jan 17 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes were poised to open higher on Wednesday following strong results from Bank of America and a double upgrade on IBM.

BofA shares edged up 0.3 percent in premarket trading after the second-largest U.S. bank reported quarterly profit that beat estimates as it gained from higher interest rates.

However, Goldman Sachs slipped 0.9 percent after posting a quarterly loss due to a $4.4 billion charge related to the new tax law.

“I think it’s very confusing to look at earnings right now because of the tax change charges,” said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“Investors are trying to figure out what normalized earnings are in a sort of a new environment for them where interest rates are higher, under changing regulations and the new tax code.”

At 8:35 a.m. ET (1335 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 98 points, or 0.38 percent, with 46,873 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 9.25 points, or 0.33 percent, with 197,994 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 22.75 points, or 0.34 percent, on volume of 46,356 contracts.

Wall Street slipped after a strong start on Tuesday as weakness in GE and a drop in oil prices dragged. The Dow hit the 26,000-mark for the first time but closed more than 200 points below that level.

The CBOE Volatility index also perked up on Tuesday, rising to a more than one-month high to 12.41.

Apple shares fell 0.33 percent after Longbow Research downgraded the company’s stock to “neutral”, saying it forecasts only a “good, not great iPhone cycle”.

Ford slipped 3.8 percent after the automaker reported full-year 2017 profit below estimates and provided a downbeat forecast.

IBM shares rose 1.8 percent after Barclays analysts upgraded its stock to “overweight” and hiked price target by $59 to $192.

Data on industrial production, due at 9:15 a.m. ET, is expected to show a gain of 0.4 percent in December from a 0.2 percent rise in the month before.

Investors will also parse the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, a compendium of anecdotes on the health of the economy drawn from the central bank’s sources, expected at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, Chicago Fed Chief Charles Evans and their Dallas counterpart Robert Kaplan are scheduled to speak later in the day. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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