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Futures rise after upbeat Cisco, Walmart earnings

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(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, as upbeat earnings from Cisco and Walmart overshadowed concerns over strained trade ties between the United States and China after Washington blacklisted telecom equipment giant Huawei.

Cisco Systems Inc gained 3.8% in premarket trading after its quarterly earnings beat estimates and the company gave an upbeat sales forecast saying minimal sales exposure to China and changes to its supply chains have helped cushion the blow of the trade dispute.

Walmart Inc rose 2.1%, after the big box retailer’s first-quarter U.S. comparable sales beat analysts’ estimates.

The recent escalation in the trade dispute has dented a strong run in stocks this year, and has put the benchmark index now about 3% below its all-time high hit just two weeks ago.

China slammed a decision by the U.S. government to blacklist Huawei and said it will take steps to protect its companies.

Still, U.S. stock indexes posted their second consecutive session of gains on Tuesday after reports that President Donald Trump would hold off on tariffs on imported cars and parts, and on news that the United States would resume trade talks soon in China.

At 7:09 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 100 points, or 0.39%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 12 points, or 0.42% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 31.25 points, or 0.42%.

First-quarter earnings have been largely positive. Of the 455 S&P 500 companies that have reported results, 75.2% have beaten profit expectations, according to Refinitiv data.

Analysts now expect first-quarter earnings growth of 1.2%, a significant turnaround from the 2% loss seen on April 1.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co dropped 2% after state fire investigators formally determined that the company’s transmission lines caused the California wildfire that killed 85 people last year, officials said.

Economic data on tap, includes a U.S. Commerce Department report that is likely to show housing starts numbers at 1.205 million units in April, after recording 1.139 million units in March. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

At the same time, a Labor Department report is expected to show initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined to a seasonally adjusted 220,000 for the week ended May 11, from 228,000, the week before.

Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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