August 31, 2017 / 1:10 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher, data lowers rate hike view

* July annual inflation increased at slowest pace since late 2015

* Weekly jobless claims rise slightly

* Dollar General falls after quarterly results

* Campbell Soup lower after sales warning

* Futures up: Dow 55 pts, S&P 5.5 pts, Nasdaq 12.75 pts (Adds economic data, comments, updates price)

By Sruthi Shankar

Aug 31 (Reuters) - Wall Street looked set to open higher on Thursday as data showed inflation increased at its slowest pace since late 2015, boosting expectations that Federal Reserve will hold off from increasing interest rates again this year.

In the 12 months through July, the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index - the Fed’s preferred inflation measure - increased 1.4 percent after advancing 1.5 percent in June. Core PCE has undershot the U.S. central bank’s 2 percent target for the past five years.

Consumer spending increased 0.3 percent last month, below the 0.4 percent rise expected by economists.

Labor Department data showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week.

The data precedes the more comprehensive jobs report on Friday, which will help investors gauge the strength of the labor market as they look for clues on the Fed’s next move on rates.

“We do anticipate the overall market reaction to remain reticent ahead of the jobs data due tomorrow,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK.

Dow e-minis were up 55 points, or 0.25 percent, with 19,586 contracts changing hands at 8:34 a.m. ET (1234 GMT).

S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.5 points, or 0.22 percent, with 155,826 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 12.75 points, or 0.21 percent, on volume of 32,453 contracts.

U.S. crude prices are on track to post the steepest monthly losses in more than a year as concerns spread over falling demand after Harvey knocked out almost a quarter of U.S. refineries.

Investors are also worried about escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea after President Donald Trump dismissed any diplomatic negotiations in a tweet on Wednesday, a day after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile.

Among stocks, Dollar General fell 3.78 percent after reporting a slide in second-quarter margins.

Campbell Soup fell about 5 percent after the company warned that sales for fiscal 2018 could fall. Rival General Mills was down 1.77 percent.

Shoe Carnival surged 18 percent after the footwear retailer’s revenue and profit beat estimates. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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