* Schlumberger down premarket after reporting Q4 results
* IBM lower after saying higher tax rates will hit profit
* AmEx posts first loss in 26 years on tax charge
* Futures up: Dow 14 pts, S&P 2.75 pts, Nasdaq 20.5 pts (Adds comment, details; updates prices)
By Sruthi Shankar
Jan 19 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open slightly higher on Friday as investors bet on strong corporate earnings, while playing down fears of a potential U.S. government shutdown.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to fund government operations through to Feb. 16 and avoid agency shutdowns this weekend when existing allocations expire. The bill has yet to be approved by the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.
Equity investors have taken such incidents in stride, and their reactions have been largely muted during the past three shutdowns.
“Naturally there are concerns, the House has a deal and the Senate maybe an issue. But investors are betting something will get done to avert a shutdown,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
“But if indeed nothing gets done, it will cause a hiccup in the market.”
At 8:54 a.m. ET (1354 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 14 points, or 0.05 percent, with 47,591 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.75 points, or 0.1 percent, with 199,188 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 20.5 points, or 0.3 percent, on volume of 54,424 contracts.
Schlumberger reported a bigger-than-expected profit as the oilfield services provider benefited from higher oil prices. However, its shares fell 2.32 percent in premarket trading.
Oil prices were down more than 1 percent on Friday as a bounce-back in U.S. production outweighed ongoing declines in crude inventories.
Among companies that reported overnight, IBM posted its first revenue rise in 23 quarters, but the company warned that a higher tax rate this year would eat into its profit. Its shares fell more than 3.31 percent.
American Express slipped 2.53 percent after the credit card issuer posted its first quarterly loss in 26 years and said it would not buy back shares for the next six months due to the impact of the U.S. tax reform.
Square jumped 4 percent after brokerage Instinet hiked its price target on the stock by $16 to $64, saying 2018 will be a “phenomenal year” due to positive growth in gross payment value.
The University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers is likely to show that preliminary January consumer sentiment index rose to 97.0, from a final December reading of 95.9. The report is due at 10:00 a.m. ET. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)