March 12, 2018 / 11:59 AM / 5 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street set to open higher as inflation worries ease

* Futures up: Dow 100 pts, S&P 10 pts, Nasdaq 41.75 pts

By Sruthi Shankar

March 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher opening for Wall Street on Monday, building on gains from last week's strong February jobs data that allayed fears of rising inflation and faster interest rate hikes.

Wall Street's main indexes closed up nearly 2 percent on Friday after data showed U.S. job additions in February grew by a strong clip but wage growth was sluggish.

Traders of U.S. short-term interest-rate futures kept bets the Federal Reserve will stick to three rate hikes this year. A month ago, the markets were gripped by fears of higher wages leading to price pressures, triggering a selloff that punctured the stock market's strong rally in 2018.

However, the S&P and the Dow have nearly reclaimed those losses. The S&P 500 is just 3 percent below the record highs hit on Jan. 26 and the Dow is 4.8 percent away from its peak.

Rapid gains in technology stocks have already powered the Nasdaq back to its record levels.

Last week's gains were also supported by U.S. President Donald Trump's softer stance on his decision to impose import tariffs on steel and aluminum by exempting Canada and Mexico.

At 7:01 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 100 points, or 0.39 percent. S&P 500 e-minis rose 10 points, or 0.36 percent, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis gained 41.75 points, or 0.59 percent.

Investors will pore over the next round of data on consumer prices and retail sales due this week for signs of rising price pressure.

Among stocks, shares of Orexigen Therapeutics sank about 70 percent in premarket trading after the drugmaker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Lumentum Holdings rose 5.5 percent after the laser and optical fibre specialist said it would buy optical components producer Oclaro for about $1.7 billion in a cash and stock deal. Oclaro jumped 25 percent.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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