US STOCKS-Tech stocks lift Nasdaq futures; Dow, S&P flat

* Futures: Dow down 12 pts, S&P up 1.25 pts, Nasdaq up 14.25
pts

By Tanya Agrawal

July 19 (Reuters) – A rise in technology stocks helped the
Nasdaq futures grind higher on Wednesday, while the S&P and the
Dow futures were little changed with investors staying focused
on earnings.

* The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed at a record high on Tuesday,
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.

* Investors will also 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.

* Economic data expected later in the day includes housing
starts for June that is likely to have increased to 1.16 million
from 1.09 million in May. Building permits are forecast rising
to 1.20 million from 1.17 million. The data is expected at 8:30
a.m. ET (1230 GMT).

* Oil prices traded higher, supported by a strong gasoline
market, but rising output from OPEC producers revived concerns
about a fuel supply overhang.

* Shares of IBM fell 3.2 percent in premarket
trading after the company’s quarterly revenue came in below
expectations.

* United Continental Holdings was down 2.5 percent,
a day after the airline’s quarterly results beat expectation but
said costs rose.

* Morgan Stanley rose 0.8 percent after the bank’s
quarterly profit rose 11.4 percent.

* Vertex Pharmaceuticals jumped 27.3 percent after
the company reported positive results for its cystic fibrosis
triple combination treatment.

* Discovery Communications was up 5.6 percent
after a source told Reuters that the company and Scripps
Networks Interactive are in merger talks. Scripps was up
14.1 percent.

Futures snapshot at 7:07 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were down 12 points, or 0.06 percent,
with 11,948 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.25 points, or 0.05
percent, with 78,754 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 14.25 points, or 0.24
percent, on volume of 19,695 contracts.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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