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2019-10-18 14:25:07

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Friday, as better-than-expected earnings reports were overshadowed by fresh jitters about the global economy after economic data from China revealed growth slowed to its weakest pace in almost 30 years.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 2, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The data showed growth in the world’s second-largest economy marked a further loss of momentum in the third quarter, casting gloom over global equities.

Helping to prop up markets was a 1.6% premarket rise in shares of Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) after the company beat analysts’ expectations for quarterly sales.

Oilfield services provider Schlumberger NV (SLB.N) also gained 1.8% following a quarterly profit beat.

The reporting season kicked off on a strong note this week, with solid results from major banks, healthcare giants and streaming pioneer Netflix Inc (NFLX.O). The S&P 500 .SPX and Dow Jones Industrial Average indexes were on pace to cap their second week in gains.

But the gains could be short-lived as analysts see third-quarter S&P 500 earnings falling by 2.9%, according to Refinitiv data, marking the first contraction since mid-2016.

Wall Street investors took comfort in the string of corporate earnings beats and encouraging geopolitical developments on Thursday, which soothed some concerns about a downturn in the U.S. economy.

A 15-month long trade war between Washington and Beijing and slowing domestic manufacturing growth have also weighed on buyers’ sentiment.

At 7:15 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 5 points, or 0.02%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 rose 1.75 points, or 0.06% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 1.75 points, or 0.02%.

Among other stocks, shares of online broker E*Trade Financial Corp (ETFC.O) rose 3% after it posted better than expected quarterly profit and revenue.

Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) dropped 1% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the industrial giant’s shares to “equal-weight” citing growing risks from weakening demand heading into 2020.

Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

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