September 25, 2019 / 1:18 PM / 21 days ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open flat as political worries weigh; Nike, tobacco stocks gain

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* Aug. new home sales data due at 10:00 a.m. ET

* Nike set for record high after Q1 results beat

* Futures off: Dow 0.07%, S&P 0.07%, Nasdaq 0.13% (Adds analyst comment, details, updates numbers)

By Sruthi Shankar and Ambar Warrick

Sept 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were set to open flat on Wednesday as a move to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump unnerved investors, but a jump in shares of Nike and tobacco companies helped dispel some gloom.

The news on probe, which pushed the S&P 500 to post its biggest percentage drop in a month on Tuesday, worsened an already fragile sentiment after Trump took a harsh tone about China’s trade practices, saying he would not accept a “bad deal”.

“At the end, we closed off the day’s lows, which tells me that there isn’t any panic in the market that would cause an accelerated decline,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“Of course, the headline news regarding impeachment investigation will be focused on, but I don’t think that it’s going to have a real negative effect just yet.”

Nike Inc shares jumped 4.7% premarket, on course for a record open and set to boost the Dow Jones Industrial Average , after first-quarter results beat market expectations. Retailer Foot Locker Inc gained 1%.

Shares in Philip Morris surged 6.9% after the tobacco company called off merger talks with Altria Group Inc and said it would instead focus on the U.S. launch of its tobacco-heating product, iQOS. Altria gained 2.1% on the news.

At 8:46 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 18 points, or 0.07%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.07% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 9.75 points, or 0.13%.

Chipmaker Broadcom Inc dropped 4% after it priced an upsized offering of convertible preferred stock.

Oil and gas explorers Marathon Oil Corp and Halliburton Co fell about 1%, tracking declines in oil prices on worries of weakening global demand.

Investors will now look to August new home sales data, due at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT), to gauge domestic spending strength ahead of the key holiday shopping season. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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