Oil Tanks  Reuters

(Reuters)

Stocks Set to Open Slightly Higher as Oil Steadies

Markets Reuters

Wall Street was set to open slightly higher on Tuesday as oil prices steadied, a day after the S&P 500 index hit a record intraday high.

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Oil edged further above $45 on estimates of a drop in U.S. inventories and speculation of producer action to freeze output.

On Monday, Wall Street closed down in one of its lowest volume trading day this year, after the S&P slipped 0.2 percent off its record high as healthcare stocks weighed.

"We expect a steady to higher opening as oil prices come back into the spotlight, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

"Today, it seems like whatever oil does, equities will follow."

Investors will continue to assess the rest of second-quarter earnings and economic data to justify valuations.

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While earnings of S&P 500 companies are expected to decline at a slower rate than anticipated at the start of the season, investors worry that the earnings recession may spill into the third quarter.

Analysts polled by Reuters expect third-quarter earnings for S&P 500 components to fall 0.2 percent, as of Monday. They had estimated a 0.2 percent rise on Aug. 3, according to Thomson Reuters data.

However, a forecast-beating payrolls report on Friday has helped bring back some of the risk-on mode in the markets. Safe havens gold and the Japanese yen were lower on Tuesday.

Dow e-minis were up 20 points, or 0.11 percent at 8:14 a.m. ET (1214 GMT), with 8,187 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 3.25 points, or 0.15 percent, with 91,597 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 9 points, or 0.19 percent, on volume of 9,106 contracts.

If the trend of robust economic data continues, it could encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sometime this year.

Valeant rose 7.5 percent to $24.14 premarket after the company maintained its full-year forecast and said it was evaluating alternatives for its non-core business and geographies.

Endo International surged 11 percent to $20.20 after the drugmaker's second-quarter revenue and profit beat estimates. The stock was the top percentage gainer among S&P 500 companies.

Twilio rose 2.3 percent to $43.48 after the company forecast upbeat revenue for the current quarter.

No Fed official is scheduled to speak this week.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)