US STOCKS-Futures higher on gains in energy shares, rate cut hopes


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    * Futures up: Dow 0.36%, S&P 0.39%, Nasdaq 0.57% 

    By Shreyashi   Sanyal
    June 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures ticked higher
on Thursday after two days of weakness, as energy shares gained
on rising oil prices and investors remained hopeful of an
interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.
    Crude prices rose as much as 4%, a day after hitting 5-month
lows after a suspected attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman
near Iran and the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of
global oil consumption passes.*:nL4N23K1S2
    Shares of oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp  XOM.N  and Chevron
Corp  CVX.N  rose 1% each in premarket trading. The S&P energy
index  .SPNY  has been the worst-performer among the 11 major
S&P sectors so far this year.
    Still, Wall Street's main indexes have had a strong start to
the month on hopes that the Federal Reserve will act to counter
a slowing global economy due to the escalating trade war with
China. The benchmark S&P 500 index  .SPX  has risen 4.6% so far
in June. 
    Expectations of an interest rate cut rose after U.S.
consumer prices data on Wednesday pointed to a moderate rise in
inflation. The Fed policymakers are set to meet on June 18-19
and the markets have priced in at least three rate cuts in 2019.
    Adding to the optimism, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He
suggested Beijing would soon unveil more policies to bolster
growth in the world's second largest economy amid rising U.S.
trade pressure.*:nL4N23K0UK
    At 7:18 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis  1YMc1  were up 93 points, or
0.36%. S&P 500 e-minis  ESc1  were up 11.25 points, or 0.39% and
Nasdaq 100 e-minis  NQc1  were up 42.5 points, or 0.57%.
    However, on the trade front, there were doubts about any
improvement in what President Donald Trump called "testy" trade
relations with China in the run up to the G20 summit later in
this month.
    Energy stocks also led the gains on the benchmark index.
Apache Corp  APA.N , Schlumberger NV  SLB.N  and Cimarex Energy
Co  XEC.N  rose between 1% and 1.8%.
    Walt Disney Co  DIS.N  shares rose 0.7% after Morgan Stanley
raised its forecast for Disney Plus subscriber growth.  

 (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun
 ((; +1 646 223 8780 ;
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