August 4, 2017 / 11:32 AM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures higher ahead of July jobs data

* Futures up: Dow 41 pts, S&P 2.25 pts, Nasdaq 6.5 pts

By Tanya Agrawal

Aug 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Friday ahead of the government nonfarm payrolls data for July that could provide some clues on the future path of interest rate hikes.

* Economists polled by Reuters expect the Labor Department’s closely watched report to show that U.S employers added 183,000 jobs last month, compared with 222,000 in June. The data is expected at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).

* Average hourly earnings are forecast to have risen 0.3 percent after gaining 0.2 percent in June, while the unemployment rate is seen falling to 4.3 percent.

* The Federal Reserve is expected to announce a plan to start reducing its $4.5 trillion bond portfolio in September and may raise interest rates once more this year in December.

* The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell on Thursday, weighed down by top-shelf technology stocks, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up to a seventh straight record high.

* Wall Street has shrugged off a recent failure by a Republican-controlled Congress to overhaul healthcare legislation as well as doubts about how easily President Donald Trump will be able to fulfill promises to cut taxes and increase infrastructure spending.

* Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, two sources told Reuters on Thursday, signaling the investigation was gathering pace.

* A strong earnings season has helped allay some concerns about stretched valuation, with the S&P trading at 18 times expected earnings, compared with its 10-year average of 14. The index has risen 11 percent in 2017.

* Analysts expect earnings of S&P 500 companies to have grown 11.8 percent and are projecting earnings to rise 9.2 percent for the September quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

* Shares of Viacom fell 6.62 percent in premarket trading after the company forecast a low single-digit dip in sales to U.S. pay-TV companies and streaming video services this quarter.

* Yelp jumped 20.53 percent after the company said it would sell its Eat24 business to Grubhub for $287.5 million, and reported a better-than-expected quarterly revenue.

* GoPro rose 16.22 percent after it forecast a smaller-than-expected loss.

* Weight Watchers was up 13.66 percent after the weight management services provider raised its full-year guidance.

Futures snapshot at 7:00 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 41 points, or 0.19 percent, with 26,111 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.25 points, or 0.09 percent, with 89,900 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 6.5 points, or 0.11 percent, on volume of 14,986 contracts. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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