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* Big banks due to report results this week
* Qualcomm rises after investors urge spinoff of unit
* Builders FirstSource to buy ProBuild for $ 1.63 bln
* Futures off: Dow 34 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 0.25 pt
By Tanya Agrawal
April 13 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were set for a slightly lower open after three straight days of gains, as the corporate earnings season was poised to kick into high gear with a slew of reports this week.
Big banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, are due to report results for the first quarter, providing an expected bright spot in an otherwise gloomy quarter. Profits of companies on the S&P 500 are projected to have declined 2.9 percent in the first three months from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The dollar rose 0.6 percent against a basket of major currencies to reach 99.986, its highest in four weeks. Market participants have been concerned over the impact of the currency’s strength on the profits of multinational companies.
“We had a big move last week and we’re heading into earnings season and we’ve had a few warning signs last week from a couple of companies where the impact of foreign exchange is going to greater than what was previously thought,” said Brian Fenske, head of sales trading at ITG in New York.
Fenske said investors were waiting for results, with many companies giving earnings forecasts for the rest of the year.
S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 4 points and fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract, indicated a slightly lower open. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures fell 34 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures lost 0.25 point.
Builders FirstSource shares soared 65 percent in premarket trading after the supplier of residential building products said it would buy privately held ProBuild Holdings for $ 1.63 billion in cash.
Apple shares edged up 0.5 percent in premarket trading after analysts said the company is likely to ramp up production of the Apple Watch on strong pre-orders following its recent launch.
Qualcomm shares were up 5.1 percent after the WSJ reported that activist investor Jana Partners had asked the chipmaker to consider spinning off its chip unit from its patent-licensing business to boost its sagging stock price.
Netflix shares were up 3 percent in premarket trading after the video streaming company said Friday it is seeking to increase its share authorization by nearly 30 times.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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