* Morgan Stanley up after Q4 beat
* Alcoa falls after missing earnings estimates
* U.S. jobless claims fall to 45-year low
* Futures: Dow up 8 pts, S&P off 2.25 pts, Nasdaq down 19.75 pts (Adds comment, details, updates prices)
By Sruthi Shankar
Jan 18 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open slightly lower on Thursday, a day after the Dow extended a new year rally to close above 26,000 for the first time.
Alcoa fell about 7.8 percent in premarket trading after the aluminum producer’s quarterly earnings missed analysts’ estimates.
Technology majors Facebook, Apple and Intel were slightly lower.
Morgan Stanley wrapped up earnings season for the big U.S. banks with a better-than-expected adjusted profit, sending its shares up 0.85 percent.
“Fourth quarter in terms of net interest margins for money center banks were better than expected, so that’s good news. And with interest rates rising, the outlook for financials are pretty good,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in Boston.
At 8:58 a.m. ET (1358 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.03 percent, with 42,809 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were down 2.25 points, or 0.08 percent, with 179,729 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 19.75 points, or 0.29 percent, on volume of 45,319 contracts.
Data showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week to the lowest level in 45 years, but the decline likely overstated the health of the labor market as data for several states were estimated.
Strong data from China, which showed its economic growth accelerated for the first time in seven years, put world stocks on a firm footing.
“Economic data continues to accelerate both domestically and globally and that is certainly among the key drivers in the market,” Hogan said.
The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday the U.S. economy and inflation expanded at a modest-to-moderate pace from late November through the end of 2017, while wages continued to push higher.
Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress stepped up their efforts to pass a temporary extension in funding government operations and avert a shutdown, scheduling a vote on the measure for later Thursday.
The government is operating on its third temporary funding extension since the 2018 fiscal year began on Oct. 1.
IBM and American Express are expected to report after market close.
Shares of La Quinta Holdings jumped 13.11 percent after Wyndham Worldwide said it would acquire the company’s hotel operations for $1.95 billion. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)