US STOCKS-S&P, Dow set to open slightly higher as banks get Fed boost

* U.S. economy grew 1.4 pct in Q1

* Walgreens rises after terminating Rite Aid deal

* Futures: Dow up 15 pts, S&P up 1.75 pts, Nasdaq down 31.5
pts
(Adds details, comments, updates prices)

By Ankur Banerjee

June 29 (Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial
Average were set to open slightly higher on Thursday as banks
gained after the Federal Reserve cleared them in the second part
of its annual stress test program.

Shares of the top six U.S. banks rose in premarket trading
on Thursday after the Fed’s decision, which allows them to raise
dividend payouts and share buybacks.

“The banks will be in the spotlight today as all of the U.S.
banks passed the stress test setting the stage for the indices
to hold on to Wednesday’s gains,” said Peter Cardillo, chief
market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

Wall Street rallied sharply on Wednesday, with the benchmark
S&P 500 index scoring its biggest one-day percentage gain in
about two months, as financial and technology stocks led a broad
market rebound.

The Nasdaq posted on Wednesday its best session since Nov.
7, the day before the U.S. presidential election.

Tech stocks, which have led the S&P 500’s 9-percent gain
this year, pulled back recently as some investors questioned the
sector’s high valuations.

Oil prices rose to a two-week high on Thursday, extending a
rally into the sixth straight session, after a decline in weekly
U.S. production eased concerns about deepening oversupply.

Cardillo said end-of-the-quarter window dressing and an
optimistic global outlook should make for a steady-to-positive
session.

The markets were little changed after data showed the U.S.
economy slowed less sharply in the first quarter than initially
estimated due to unexpectedly higher consumer spending and a
bigger jump in exports.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits
edged up last week, but the underlying trend remained consistent
with a tight labor market.

Dow e-minis were up 15 points, or 0.07 percent, at
8:42 a.m. ET (1242 GMT) with 26,089 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.75 points, or 0.07 percent,
with 169,864 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were
down 31.5 points, or 0.55 percent, on volume of 37,198
contracts.

Among stocks, Staples jumped 10 percent after
private equity firm Sycamore Partners agreed to acquire the U.S.
office supplies chain for $6.9 billion.

Walgreens Boots Alliance was up 4 percent after it
terminated agreement to buy Rite Aid Corp and said it
would instead buy nearly half of Rite Aid’s stores for $5.18
billion.
(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun
Koyyur)

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