US STOCKS-Nasdaq set to hit record high as tech stocks rise

* Morgan Stanley rises as quarterly profit beats
expectations

* IBM falls as revenue misses estimates

* TMobile, Qualcomm, AmEx to report after the closing bell

* Futures up: Dow 1 pt, S&P 1.25 pts, Nasdaq up 14 pts
(Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Tanya Agrawal

July 19 (Reuters) – The Nasdaq was set to hit a fresh record
on Wednesday, helped by a rise in technology stocks, while the
S&P and the Dow were headed for a slightly higher opening as
investors focused on earnings.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed at a record high on Tuesday
helped by a jump in Netflix, with the index posting its
longest streak of gains since February 2015.

The S&P tech sector has been the best performing sector this
year despite concerns about stretched valuations as investors
look for growth sectors immune to policy uncertainties.

“Earnings so far have been a mixed bag with most of the big
banks down, causing the S&P and Dow to underperform slightly in
the near term,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive officer at 50
Park Investments.

“On the other hand, Netflix’s strong results has caused
money to move to tech stocks in anticipation of stronger
earnings. If the big names such as Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon
are able to show growth in an otherwise low-growth environment
then investors will pay for these stocks.”

All three big tech names will report results next week.

Dow e-minis were up 1 point, or 0 percent, with
13,923 contracts changing hands at 8:12 a.m. ET (1212 GMT).

S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.25 points, or 0.05 percent,
with 90,769 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 14 points, or 0.24
percent, on volume of 22,317 contracts.

Investors will continue to focus on quarterly earnings to
see if high valuations are justified in the face of mixed
economic data, tepid inflation and policy gridlock in
Washington.

Analysts estimate an 8.5 percent rise in second-quarter
earnings and a 4.7 percent increase in revenue for S&P 500
companies from a year earlier.

This follows a robust first quarter when U.S. companies
posted the fastest rate of growth in earnings since 2011,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

TMobile, Qualcomm and American Express
are among the companies that will report results after
the bell.

Shares of IBM fell 2.7 percent in premarket trading
after the company’s quarterly revenue came in below
expectations.

United Continental Holdings was down 4.3 percent, a
day after the airline’s quarterly results beat expectation but
costs rose.

Morgan Stanley rose 2.3 percent after the bank’s
quarterly profit beat expectations and bond trading revenue
declines were modest compared with arch-rival Goldman Sachs’
.

Discovery Communications was up 7.5 percent after
a source told Reuters the company and Scripps Networks
Interactive are engaged in merger talks. Scripps was up
13.4 percent.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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