US STOCKS-Wall St to dip at open; Nasdaq set for 4th straight fall

Reuters - UK Focus

* Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) reportedly close to deal for Beats Electronics

* Omnicom Group (Frankfurt: 871706 - news) , Publicis (Paris: FR0000130577 - news) call off merger

* Rocket Fuel (NasdaqGS: FUEL - news) plunges after outlook

* Futures off: Dow 22 pts, S&P 3 pts, Nasdaq 7.25 pts (Adds Ralph Lauren, updates prices)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Frankfurt: HX6.F - news) , May 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set for a flatopen on Friday, putting the S&P 500 on track to close a week ofchoppy trading with a slight decline, while the Nasdaq was onpace for its worst weekly decline in four.

* The S&P 500 has alternated between gains and losseseach day this week, and the Nasdaq has dropped for threestraight sessions - its longest losing streak since early April- as Internet-related stocks came under pressure.

* Apple Inc is close to paying a record $3.2billion for Beats Electronics, two people with knowledge of thematter said, an expensive foray into music streaming andheadphone gear. Apple shares slipped 0.7 percent to $583.91while Internet radio provider Pandora Media Inc (NYSE: P - news) lost 2.5percent to $64.52.

* A proposed $35 billion merger of U.S.-based Omnicom GroupInc and rival France's Publicis Groupe SA (Other OTC: PGPEF - news) hasbeen called off due to complex obstacles to molding thecompanies into the world's largest advertising agency. Omnicomshares lost 2.2 percent to $64.74 before the opening bell.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures fell 3 points and wereslightly below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing bytaking into account interest rates, dividends and time toexpiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average e-minifutures lost 22 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures declined 7.25 points.

* Gap Inc reported a 9 percent increase incomparable sales for April and the apparel company gave a profitforecast that surpassed Wall Street expectations. Shares were up4.1 percent in premarket trading.

* Rocket Fuel Inc, tumbled 28.8 percent to $19.75in premarket trading after the technology provider for Web-basedvideo advertising forecast current-quarter revenue far belowexpectations, prompting downgrades from Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB - news) and BMOCapital (Other OTC: CGHC - news) .

* Ralph Lauren Corp slumped 6.2 percent to $142.65after the company said it expected global revenues to risebetween 6 percent and 8 percent in fiscal 2015 but warned itsoperating margin would decline.

* Of 445 companies in the S&P 500 that have reportedearnings through Thursday morning, 68.2 percent beatexpectations, above the 63 percent average since 1994 and the 66percent beat rate for the past four quarters, according toThomson Reuters (Frankfurt: TOC.F - news) data.

* Profits are expected to rise 5.3 percent this quarter,down from 6.5 percent estimated at the start of the year, butabove the low of 0.6 percent in mid-April. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Bernadette Baum andNick Zieminski)

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