* Oil trades near strongest levels since mid-2015
* Casino stocks hit by downbeat Dec. gambling revenue
* Netflix gains after upgrade
* Futures up: S&P 86 pts, Dow 8.25 pts, Nasdaq 25.25 pts (Adds comment, adds details, updates prices)
By Sruthi Shankar
Jan 2 (Reuters) - Wall Street was poised for an upbeat session on the first trading day of 2018, fueled by strong commodity prices and a weak dollar, signaling that stocks were set to extend last year’s strong run.
Major stock indexes closed out 2017 with their best performance since 2013, powered by a combination of strong economic growth, solid corporate earnings, low interest rates and hopes of corporate tax cuts.
“The first week of trading usually suggests the overall trend of the markets which we expect to be positive,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York, wrote in a note.
Oil prices hovered near their mid-2015 highs on Tuesday amid large anti-government rallies in major exporter Iran and ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and Russia.
Gold and copper prices continued their upward march, but the greenback began the year on the back foot, with the dollar index slipping to its weakest level since September.
“While we don’t expect the Iranian unrest to reach a full blown political situation just yet, the protest will add to an already positive uptrend in oil and gold prices,” Cardillo said.
December payrolls report, data on manufacturing and service sectors are among leading indicators expected during the week, and will be scrutinized for signs of improving economic health and the number of interest rate hikes this year.
Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s December meeting, when the central bank raised rates for the fourth time since the 2008 financial crisis, will be issued on Wednesday.
At 8:29 a.m. ET (1429 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 86 points, or 0.35 percent, with 19,355 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were up 8.25 points, or 0.31 percent, with 134,204 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 25.25 points, or 0.39 percent, on volume of 29,982 contracts.
Netflix rose 1.6 percent in premarket trading after brokerage Macquire upgraded the company’s stock to “outperform” from “neutral”.
Wynn Resorts declined about 3 percent after a report showed lower-than-expected rise in Macau gambling revenue in December.
Shares of peers Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts and Melco Resorts & Entertainment were down by up to 3 percent.
U.S.-listed shares of Embraer rose 5.2 percent following a newspaper report that tie-up talks between the Brazilian planemaker and Boeing did not involve a change of control. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)