* S&P, Dow set for best 1st-qtr since 2013
* Feb U.S. consumer spending up 0.1 pct vs est. 0.2 pct
* FMC jumps on deal with DuPont
* Futures down: Dow 17 pts, S&P 3.5 pts, Nasdaq 3 pts
(Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
March 31 U.S. stocks looked set to open slightly
lower as investors prepared to lock in gains on what is likely
to be Wall Street's strongest first-quarter performance in four
A raft of strong economic data and the possibility of fiscal
stimulus under President Donald Trump have driven U.S. equities
to record highs since his election.
The S&P is on track to gain 5.8 percent and the Dow 4.9
percent for the first quarter ending Friday, their biggest
quarterly gains since 2013.
"It's been a decent start to the quarter for stocks, and so
far the market has navigated a somewhat uncertain terrain with
grace," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive officer at 50 Park
Investments in Florida.
"It's perfectly normal on the last day of the quarter and
the last day of the month to see some profit taking, especially
after a strong run."
Dow e-minis were down 17 points, or 0.08 percent at
8:32 a.m. ET (1232 GMT), with 17,746 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were down 3.5 points, or 0.15
percent, with 126,574 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 3 points, or 0.06
percent, on volume of 20,860 contracts.
As stocks continue to soar, investors are looking to the
first-quarter earnings season to justify Wall Street's lofty
The S&P is trading at about 18 times earnings estimates for
the next 12 months against its long-term average of 15,
according to Thomson Reuters data.
However, the improvement also means more interest rate hikes
by the Federal Reserve. New York Fed President William Dudley
said on Thursday evening that it was appropriate to tighten
monetary policy to reduce the risk of overheating the economy.
On Friday, oil prices fell 0.8 percent after a three-day
A report from the Commerce Department showed U.S. consumer
spending barely rose in February, but the biggest annual
increase in inflation in nearly five years supported
expectations of further interest rate hikes this year.
Shares of DuPont were up 0.6 percent at $82.11 in
premarket trading after the company said it would sell its crop
protection business to FMC Corp and buy its health and
nutrition unit in a deal that will give DuPont about $1.6
billion. FMC's shares jumped 12.6 percent.
U.S.-listed shares of Blackberry were up 5 percent
at $7.30 after the company reported fourth-quarter profit above
expectations and said it expected to be profitable on an
adjusted basis in 2018.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by