US STOCKS-Futures little changed ahead of big earnings

* Futures up: Dow 15 pts, S&P 1.5 pts, Nasdaq 9.5 pts

By Tanya Agrawal

July 17 (Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were little
changed on Monday as investors treaded water ahead of a busy
earnings week from big U.S. companies.

* Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman
Sachs, Microsoft, IBM and Johnson and
Johnson are scheduled to report results this week.

* Netflix, which is scheduled to report results
after the market close on Monday, rose 0.9 percent in premarket

* Analysts estimate second-quarter earnings for the S&P 500
companies rose 8.1 percent from a year earlier. First-quarter
earnings posted their best performance since 2011, according to
Thomson Reuters data.

* Earnings will be closely watched to see if high valuations
are justified in the face of tepid inflation and a recent patch
of mixed economic data.

* The S&P 500 has been trading at about 18 times earnings
estimates for the next 12 months, compared with the long-term
average of 15 times.

* The Dow and the S&P hit record highs on Friday after weak
economic data dulled prospects of more interest rate hikes this

* Last week, investor sentiment got a boost after Federal
Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said future rate hikes could be
gradual in the face of persistently low inflation. The Fed will
meet next on July 25-26.

* Oil rose above $49 a barrel as a slowdown in the growth of
rigs drilling in the United States eased concern that surging
shale supplies will undermine OPEC-led cuts.

* World shares continued to hover near record highs after
data showed China’s economy grew at a faster-than-forecast 6.9
percent year-on-year in the second quarter.

* Shares of BlackRock slipped 0.3 percent after the
world’s biggest asset manager’s quarterly profit came in below

* Procter & Gamble fell 0.23 percent after activist
investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management said it is seeking
a board seat at the company.

Futures snapshot at 6:57 a.m. ET (1057 GMT):

* Dow e-minis were up 15 points, or 0.07 percent,
with 12,879 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.5 points, or 0.06
percent, with 90,069 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 9.5 points, or 0.16
percent, on volume of 17,454 contracts.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal)

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