CORRECTED-US STOCKS-Earnings, Microsoft set to boost Wall St as investors await stimulus

Reuters

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 (Corrects Stephanie Link's title and location in graph four to
chief investment strategist and portfolio manager in Chicago
from portfolio manager in New Jersey.)
    * Microsoft says looking to buy TikTok's U.S. operations
    * Investors hopeful as lawmakers gridlocked over relief deal
    * McKesson, Tyson Foods rise on robust earnings updates
    * Futures up: Dow 0.56%, S&P 0.61%, Nasdaq 0.93% 

    By Sagarika Jaisinghani and Medha Singh
    Aug 3 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes were set to
open higher on Monday as Microsoft's pursuit of TikTok's U.S.
operations and a clutch of upbeat quarterly earnings reports
lifted sentiment in the absence of a fiscal coronavirus relief
deal.
    Microsoft  MSFT.O  rose 2.7% before the bell as it said it
would push ahead with talks to acquire the U.S. operations of
Chinese-owned TikTok after President Donald Trump reversed
course on a planned ban of the short-video app.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2F51LN
    Drug distributor McKesson Corp  MCK.N  gained 4.6% after
raising its full-year earnings forecast, while Tyson Foods Inc
 TSN.N  rose 0.9% on topping quarterly profit estimates.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nASA00ZM9  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2F52XI
    "Earnings have been a nice surprise," said Stephanie Link,
chief investment strategist and portfolio manager at Hightower
Advisors in Chicago.
    "And not just bottom line, but the topline as well.
Expectations got very very low, so obviously they were low
hurdles to overcome, but it's definitely on investors' minds."
    With the U.S. corporate earnings season now past its
half-way mark, a record high percentage of companies have beaten
dramatically lowered forecasts, but the second quarter is still
set to be the low point for earnings this year and the biggest
quarterly decline since the financial crisis.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2F406X
    Standout earnings from tech behemoths and historic monetary
and fiscal stimulus have lifted the S&P 500 to within 4% of its
peak, but a recent wobble in macroeconomic data and a gridlock
on more government stimulus has made investors cautious again.
    After an extra $600-per-week in jobless benefits expired
last week, the White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on
Sunday he was not optimistic about reaching an agreement soon
for the next relief bill.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2F405E
    With jobless claims rising again, all eyes this week will be
on the Labor Department's employment report on Friday, which is
expected to show far fewer jobs being created in July after a
record surge in the previous month.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2E82LC
    On a brighter note, an ISM survey of the manufacturing
sector due later in the day is expected to show a slight pickup
in July, mirroring upbeat factory activity data from Europe, the
United Kingdom and China.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nZRN000LQ7
    "While most agree that the bottom in economic activity is
behind us, ... the way forward is likely to be bumpy as several
U.S. states re-impose lockdown measures (and) this probably
won't show up in the data until the release of the August
figures," said Hussein Sayed, market strategist at FXTM.
    At 7:56 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis  1YMcv1  were up 148 points, or
0.56%, S&P 500 e-minis  EScv1  were up 20 points, or 0.61% and
Nasdaq 100 e-minis  NQcv1  were up 101 points, or 0.93%.
    Marathon Petroleum Corp  MPC.N  jumped 9.9% after it sold
its Speedway gas station network for $21 billion in an all-cash
deal.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2F40H9
    Clorox Co  CLX.N  slipped 1.3% even as it beat quarterly
sales and profit estimates on benefiting from higher spending on
cleaning products during the COVID-19 pandemic.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2F52Q4

 (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Medha Singh in
Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Uttaresh.V)
 ((Sagarika.Jaisinghani@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646
223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2256;))

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