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US STOCKS-Wall Street set to rise with focus on stimulus

Reuters logo Reuters 10/20/2020 By Medha Singh and Shivani Kumaresan

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

* Senate Republicans set to vote on more payroll funding

* Insurer Travelers up after profit beat

* P&G gains after FY sales forecast raise

* Netflix advances ahead of results

* Futures up: Dow and S&P 0.4% each, Nasdaq 0.2% (Adds comment, details; Updates prices)

By Medha Singh and Shivani Kumaresan

Oct 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes were set to open higher on Tuesday as investors were hopeful of more stimulus from Washington with Senate Republicans preparing to vote on a bill to help small businesses hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will also talk again on Tuesday, after a 53-minute telephone conversation on Monday "continued to narrow their differences" about the coronavirus aid package, a Pelosi spokesman said on Twitter.

"The stimulus package seems to be the major fixation for investors right now — the idea of Republicans and Democrats agreeing on the next payments going forward," said Rick Meckler, a partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.

Uncertainty over the fiscal stimulus weighed on Wall Street's main indexes on Monday, with analysts expecting market turbulence to increase with only two weeks left until Election Day.

Latest national opinion polls pointed to a victory for Democratic challenger Joe Biden, which would mean a cooling in global trade friction, but higher taxes for corporate America.

Meanwhile, the third-quarter earnings season has gathered momentum. Of the 50 S&P 500 companies that have reported results, 86% have topped expectations for earnings, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Property and casualty insurer Travelers Cos Inc gained 3.2% premarket as it beat quarterly profit expectations, while consumer products giant Procter & Gamble Co advanced 1.5% as it raised its full-year sales forecast.

At 08:15 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were up 0.4% at 28,200 points and S&P 500 E-minis rose 0.39% to 3,436 points. Nasdaq 100 E-minis gained 0.23% to 11,676 points.

Netflix Inc edged up 0.2% as investors awaited the stay-at-home winner's membership additions in the third quarter.

International Business Machines Corp edged past estimates for quarterly revenue, bolstered by higher demand for its cloud services. The company's shares, however, fell 3.3% after it stayed away from issuing a current-quarter forecast, citing economic uncertainty related to the pandemic. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)


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