Wall Street poised for small gains as Mideast concerns ebb

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By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures signaled small gains for Wall Street at the open on Tuesday, as investors took comfort from the absence of fresh escalation in the standoff between the United States and Iran.

The three main U.S. indexes on Monday rebounded from early losses that was sparked by a rush to safe-haven assets following the killing of a top Iranian general last week by the United States.

“Without fresh escalation, investors cannot maintain a heightened sense of geopolitical anxiety. The recovery of U.S. shares yesterday set the tone for today’s rebound in Asia and Europe,” Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex, wrote in a note.

Helping the tech-heavy Nasdaq futures outperform on Tuesday, Micron Technology Inc (O:) rose 3.1% in premarket trading after Cowen & Co upgraded the chipmaker to “outperform” on earlier-than-expected recovery in memory market.

The brokerage also raised its rating on hard disk maker Western Digital Corp (O:) to “outperform”. Its shares rose 2.8%.

Tesla Inc (O:) gained 1.9% after the company launched its Model Y electric sports utility vehicle program at its new Shanghai factory.

At 07:27 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis () were up 13 points, or 0.05%. S&P 500 e-minis () were up 1.75 points, or 0.05%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis () were up 25 points, or 0.28%.

Investors will be closely tracking a slew of economic data later in the day, including U.S. trade and factory goods orders for November and the Institute for Supply Management’s services sector activity index for December. After the index slowed to 53.9 points in November, economists expect it to stabilize at 54.5 points in the last month.

Market participants are also awaiting the fourth-quarter reporting season, which begins in earnest next week. Earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to dip 0.5%, the second consecutive quarter of decline, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

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