February 15, 2018 / 12:51 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures roll higher, brushing aside inflation worries

* Futures up: Dow 224 pts, S&P 12.5 pts, Nasdaq 37.75 pts

By Sruthi Shankar

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher on Thursday, reclaiming further ground ceded during last week's sell-off, as investors brushed aside inflation data and preferred stocks over bonds for the fifth day in a row.

Leading the early gainers was Cisco, whose shares jumped nearly 8 percent in premarket trading after the network gear maker posted upbeat results and forecast.

Fellow Dow component Apple gained more than 1 percent after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway raised its stake in the company, making it its top investment.

As a results, Dow e-minis were up 224 points, or more than 1 percent, by 6:49 a.m. ET. S&P 500 e-minis gained 12.5 points and Nasdaq 100 e-minis rose 37.75 points.

Stronger-than-expected consumer prices data for January on Wednesday initially raised jitters of rising inflation and faster interest rate hikes, a repeat of the fears sparked by a strong U.S. jobs report on Feb. 2, which triggered a sell-off.

But after an initial dip on Wednesday, investors snapped up shares of Facebook, Amazon.com, Apple and other such stocks to keep Wall Street in rally mode for a fourth starlight session.

Since Thursday, the S&P 500 has surged 4.56 percent, its strongest four-session performance since mid-2016. But, the index remains down about 6 percent from its record high on Jan. 26.

A further boost to markets came from a continued fall in a key measure of near-term volatility. The CBOE Volatility index ended lower at about 19 points on Wednesday and fell to 18 on Thursday, well off the 50-point peak touched last week.

Also underpinning many investors' confidence is the view that the U.S. economy remains on strong footing as well as the expected boost of tax cuts on corporate profits.

Another reading on inflation, but from the seller's point of view, is due at 8:30 a.m. ET. The producer price index for final demand is likely to show a 2.5 percent rise in January, after falling for the first time in nearly 1-1/2 years in December.

Also due at the same time is jobless claims data for last week and, later in the morning, industrial production data is due for release.

Among other stocks, TripAdvisor gained about 18 percent after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue.

CenturyLink shares rose more than 8 percent after hedge fund Paulson & Co revealed a new stake in the telecom provider. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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