Wall St. set to open slightly lower, Amazon soars

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[April 29, 2016]  By Tanya Agrawal

(Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open slightly lower on Friday as investors assess a raft of economic data and take stock of the earnings season, even as a jump in oil prices helped temper some losses.

Oil hit new highs earlier in the day and was poised for its biggest monthly gain in seven years as a weak dollar and falling U.S. production soothed concerns about an excess of physical oil. [O/R]

The dollar index was down 0.4 percent at $93.38, its lowest level since August.

Stock markets around the world were in the red - with the yen rallying to an 18-month high, signaling a broader risk aversion among investors - a day after the Bank of Japan's call to cap monetary stimulus rattled investors.

"I think we are looking at a cautious trading day as the poor earnings season finally catches up, though oil could help smoothen some of the declines," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

First-quarter earnings from S&P 500 components are expected to have fallen 6.1 percent from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Of the 273 companies that have reported, 57 percent reported revenue above analyst expectations, compared with the long-term average 60 percent.

U.S. inflation barely rose in March as consumer spending remained tepid, making it less likely that the Federal Reserve will be able to hike interest rates twice this year.

The Commerce Department said the personal consumption expenditures price index, excluding the volatile food and energy components, edged up 0.1 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.2 percent increase in February.

Economists polled by Reuters expect two increases this year but futures prices show traders do not expect rates to rise until late 2016, according to CME Group's FedWatch.

S&P 500 e-minis were down 5.5 points, or 0.27 percent, with 219,920 contracts traded at 8:39 a.m. ET. Nasdaq 100 e-minis  were down 18.5 points, or 0.42 percent, on volume of 34,309 contracts. Dow e-minis  were down 45 points, or 0.25 percent, with 26,632 contracts changing hands.

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Shares of Amazon  jumped 12.3 percent to $676.24 in premarket trading after the company's quarterly results blew past analysts' expectations.

Oil majors Chevron was down 1.9 percent at $100.26, while Exxon was up 0.2 percent at $88.25, after reporting results.

LinkedIn was up 8.4 percent at $133.35 after the operator of the online network for professionals raised its 2016 revenue and profit forecast.

Gilead Sciences fell 4.6 percent to $92.48 after reporting an 18 percent fall in first-quarter net profit.

TiVo  rose 6.2 percent to $10 after digital entertainment guide provider Rovi said it will buy the company in a deal valued at about $1.1 billion. Rovi was up 8.8 percent at $18.88.

(Additional reporting by Aastha Agnihotri in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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