US STOCKS-Futures kick off month on firm footing; economic data in focus

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* Futures up: Dow 0.64%, S&P 0.53%, Nasdaq 0.25%

May 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Monday after a week of largely upbeat earnings strengthened expectations of sustained profit growth at companies, with investors also awaiting economic data to gauge the pace of recovery.

With more than half of the S&P 500 companies already having reported results so far, profits are now expected to have risen 46% in the first quarter, compared with forecasts of 24% growth at the start of April, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Megacap technology stocks rose in premarket trading, with Apple Inc, Inc, Alphabet Inc and Microsoft Corp adding between 0.2% and 0.4% after posting largely upbeat results in the prior week.

Improving economic data, strong earnings, fiscal stimulus and the Federal Reserve’s ultra accommodative stance have supported markets, pushing the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes to record levels during the course of last week.

Data on Monday is expected to show a slight rise in national factory activity, while a reading of the Labor Department’s non-farm payrolls data was due to be released on Friday.

At 6:44 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 216 points, or 0.64%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 22.25 points, or 0.53%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 35.25 points, or 0.25%.

Tesla Inc fell 0.9%. Industry sources told Reuters the electric vehicle maker, under scrutiny in China over safety and customer service complaints, is boosting its engagement with mainland regulators and beefing up its government relations team.

Moderna Inc gained 2.4% after the drugmaker said it would supply 34 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine this year to the global COVAX program. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru)