* Mining stocks under pressure as gold tumbles
* General Mills slips after results
* U.S. Q1 final growth estimate cut to 1.8 pct
* Futures up: Dow 65 pts, S&P 9.7 pts, Nasdaq 20.75 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, June 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open
higher on Wednesday, indicating the S&P 500 may build on its
biggest gain in nearly two weeks on Tuesday, as concerns eased
that the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon rein in its stimulus
The S&P 500 rose nearly 1 percent Tuesday, its most
since June 13, as data on durable goods orders, sales of new
homes and consumer confidence all topped analysts' expectations
and the People's Bank of China eased concerns about a possible
banking crisis in the world's second-largest economy.
Still, the benchmark S&P index remains down 3.9 percent
since the Fed signaled last week that it may begin to scale back
its stimulus efforts should its economic forecasts hold.
"If you look at the actual statement (Fed stimulus) is going
to be data dependent and if you look at the Fed forecasting,
they are usually more optimistic than what has actually
happened," said Rick Robinson, regional chief investment officer
for Wells Fargo Private Bank in Scottsdale, Arizona.
"So the markets are finally realizing (the Fed's moves) will
be data dependent, let's watch and see what happens to the
Data showed a final estimate for gross domestic product
growth at a 1.8 percent annual rate. Economists in a Reuters
survey forecast a 2.4 percent annualized pace of growth, the
same as the preliminary estimate for the quarter.
"Everyone wants to know when the Fed is going to taper so
it's really looking forward, what is the second quarter going to
be?" said Robinson.
Gold stocks were under pressure as the precious metal fell
to its lowest in almost three years, putting it on course for a
record quarterly loss. U.S.-listed shares of Gold Fields Ltd
dropped 5.1 percent to $4.82 and Barrick Gold Corp
lost 3.3 percent to $15.58 in premarket trading.
S&P 500 futures rose 9.7 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 65
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 20.75 points.
Monsanto Co shed 0.4 percent to $101.01 before the
opening bell after the world's largest seed company said its
quarterly profit fell, but sales remained on an upswing.
Food manufacturer General Mills slipped 0.7 percent
to $48 in premarket trading after giving a forecast for the new
fiscal year that fell shy of expectations, even as its quarterly
profit was in line with estimates.
Microsoft Corp climbed 1 percent to $33.99 in
premarket trading after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the
software company to "overweight."
Other S&P 500 companies due to report on Wednesday include
Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc and Paychex Inc.
Equities may also receive a boost from quarter-end "window
dressing" by fund managers, the practice of selling
underperforming stocks and buying outperformers, to enhance the
appearance of their portfolios.