November 1, 2017 / 12:57 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher on earnings, strong jobs data

* FOMC statement on policy meeting expected at 2:00 p.m. ET

* Estee Lauder, US Steel gain after results

* ADP Oct payroll increase largest since March

* Futures up: Dow 128 pts, S&P 10 pts, Nasdaq 28.5 pts (Adds comment, details and updates prices)

By Sruthi Shankar

Nov 1 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to march higher on Wednesday, as better-than-expected private jobs data added to the upbeat sentiment following healthy third-quarter earnings reports.

U.S. private employers hired 235,000 workers in October, the most since March and exceeding a median forecast of 200,000 among economists polled by Reuters, the ADP National Employment Report showed.

“We’re in a very positive environment,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

“Economic data and earnings continue to remain a reason for optimism. The market will look for signs of a robust economy, and I think the momentum is in place.”

Third-quarter earnings have been largely positive, with 72.9 percent of the S&P 500 companies that have reported topping profit expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data. That is above the 72 percent profit beat rate in the past four quarters.

Investors will also be watching for clues on future rate hikes when the two-day Fed meeting concludes later today.

The Federal Reserve is expected to keep interest rates unchanged as speculation swirls on who will be its next leader, but will likely point to a firming economy as it edges closer to a possible rate rise next month.

The White House has said President Donald Trump will announce his Fed pick on Thursday. Trump is expected to choose Fed Governor Jerome Powell, who is seen as more stock-market friendly, sources have told Reuters.

Also on radar are developments around a long-awaited U.S. tax-cut plan. Legislation expected on Wednesday has been delayed by a day to help resolve differences.

At 8:18 a.m. ET (1218 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 128 points, or 0.55 percent, with 29,020 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 10 points, or 0.39 percent, with 163,343 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 28.5 points, or 0.46 percent, on volume of 31,583 contracts.

Following the strong ADP data, focus now shifts to Friday’s non-farm payrolls report for October. The data will reveal if the labor market has strengthened after a hurricane-ravaged September.

Oil hit its highest since mid-2015 on data that showed OPEC has significantly improved compliance with its pledged supply cuts and Russia is also widely expected to keep to the deal.

Allergan rose 1.51 percent in premarket trading after the Botox-maker reported a sales rise.

Estee Lauder gained 4.19 percent after the cosmetics maker reported better-than-expected sales and profit.

US Steel jumped 12 percent on strong earnings.

Garmin climbed 4 percent as strong sales of its GPS-based outdoor activity gadgets helped beat profit estimates.

Electronic Arts dipped 2.17 percent after the videogame publisher’s revenue forecast for the holiday shopping quarter narrowly missed estimates. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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