US STOCKS-Wall St set to get a lift from robust earnings, rise in jobless claims

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Disney climbs on Q1 beat, layoff plans


PepsiCo gains on quarterly profit, sales beat


U.S. weekly jobless claims increase


Futures up: Dow 0.63%, S&P 0.80%, Nasdaq 1.28%

(Adds comments; updates prices, details)

By Sruthi Shankar and Johann M Cherian

Feb 9 (Reuters) - U.S. main stock indexes were set for a higher open on Thursday as a slew of strong quarterly earnings and data showing a rise in weekly jobless claims outweighed concerns about the Federal Reserve's rate-hike path.

Walt Disney Co climbed 5.6% premarket after topping earnings estimates and announcing 7,000 job cuts as part of an effort to save $5.5 billion in costs and make its streaming business profitable.

PepsiCo Inc rose 1.8% as the snack and beverage maker reported better-than-expected results, while drugmaker AbbVie Inc gained 1.3% after beating fourth-quarter profit expectations.

Futures got a lift after data showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 196,000 for the week ended Feb. 4. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 190,000 claims for the latest week.

The data comes on the heels of a strong January employment report that rattled markets last week.

"This is a definite sign that weakness in the labor market is coming despite the huge job number last week," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities.

"There are so many companies that are laying off people and that eventually is going to weaken the job market. This for the Fed is too soon, but if this trend continues and inflation continues to head downwards, then the Fed's tune will change and a pause is not that far away."

Traders are betting that the central bank will raise its benchmark rate to a peak of 5.1% in July, largely in line with the forecasts of Fed officials. However, money market traders are also anticipating rate cuts this year.

At 8:50 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 213 points, or 0.63%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 33 points, or 0.8%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 160.5 points, or 1.28%.

Megacap stocks including Meta Platforms, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp climbed in the range of 1.3% to 2.0% as U.S. Treasury yields extended declines.

Stocks have enjoyed an upbeat start to the year on hopes that the Fed would steer away from its hawkish rhetoric and leave the economy on a strong footing.

Of more than half of the S&P 500 companies that have reported fourth-quarter results so far, 69% have topped analysts' earnings estimates, as per Refinitiv IBES data. In a typical quarter 66% top estimates.

Ralph Lauren Corp gained 2.4% after beating quarterly revenue expectations on resilient demand for its high-end clothing and accessories.

Salesforce Inc edged 1.8% higher as a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that hedge fund Third Point LLC owns a stake in the company.

Cardiovascular Systems Inc (CSI) jumped 48.3% after Abbott Laboratories said it would buy the medical device maker for $837.6 million. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar, Medha Singh, Johann M Cherian and Ankika Biswas in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)