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Stock futures climb, point to second week of gains

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[August 15, 2014]  By Ryan Vlastelica 

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Friday, with major indexes on track for a second week of gains, as traders bet there would be no immediate escalation in the tense situations in Ukraine or Iraq.

Recent trading has taken its cue from news overseas, with investors concerned about the potential impact of any exacerbation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, or in violence in Iraq.

Ukrainian border guards crossed the frontier to inspect a huge Russian aid convoy, which some had speculated could be a cover for a military invasion. The inspection comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin struck a softer tone in comments regarding Ukraine.

In Iraq, Nuri al-Maliki stepped down as prime minister, paving the way for a new coalition that world and regional powers hope will be able to quash a Sunni Islamist insurgency that threatens Baghdad.
 


Investors awaited August data on both manufacturing and consumer sentiment. The New York Fed's read on manufacturing, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT, is seen falling to 20 from 25.6, while the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers - due at 9:55 a.m. - is seen rising to 82.5 from 81.8 previously.

S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 5.25 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures added 50 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures gained 14.5 points.

For the week, the Dow is up 1 percent, the S&P is up 1.2 percent and the Nasdaq is up 1.9 percent.

The benchmark S&P index is 1.7 percent off a closing record hit late July. In a sign of the market's long-term strength, the index has marked more than 1,000 days since its last correction, which Wall Street defines as a drop of 10 percent from the most recent high.

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Applied Materials Inc late Thursday reported third-quarter earnings that beat expectations, boosted by demand for DRAM chips. It also forecast adjusted current-quarter profits that were largely above estimates.

Monster Beverage Corp jumped 21 percent to $87 in premarket trading after Coca-Cola Co said it was buying a 16.7 percent stake in the company for $2.15 billion.

JD.com Inc fell 6.7 percent to $28 in premarket trading after the company reported a wider second-quarter loss than a year earlier, even as revenue jumped 64 percent.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc disclosed a new $366 million stake in Charter Communications Inc, part of a flurry of changes in its stock investments during the second quarter. It also trimmed its stake in DirecTV and is no longer reporting any stake in Starz.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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