March 12, 2018 / 1:04 PM / 3 months ago

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

* Oclaro busiest stock premarket after Lumentum’s $1.7 bln buyout

* Broadcom gains amid reports of Intel’s interest in the company

* Futures up: Dow 43 pts, S&P 5 pts, Nasdaq 27.5 pts (Adds comments, details, updates prices)

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.

“The market was particularly optimistic that wage growth wasn’t too hot for fear of inflationary concerns,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

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 dragged the main indexes to correction territory.

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.

“We’re seeing some positive follow through, but it would not surprise me to see some profit-taking coming off a very powerful performance on Friday,” Bakhos said.

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 8:39 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 43 points. S&P 500 e-minis rose 5 points and Nasdaq 100 e-minis gained 27.5 points.

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

Broadcom rose 3 percent in premarket trading, following report that Intel was considering a possible bid for the company.

Oclaro jumped 25 percent and was the most traded stock premarket after laser and optical fibre specialist Lumentum Holdings said it would buy the optical components producer for $1.7 billion.

Lumentum’s shares rose 1 percent.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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