April 20, 2017 / 11:12 AM / 5 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures higher on optimism around earnings

* Futures up: Dow 41 pts, S&P 6.5 pts, Nasdaq 17.5 pts

By Tanya Agrawal

April 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday, with the earnings season getting off to a strong start and oil prices rebounding after steep losses a day earlier.

* However, mounting tensions between North Korea and the United States and the looming French presidential elections are keeping investors away from making risky bets.

* With Wall Street near record levels and worries over President Donald Trump’s ability to carry out his pro-growth promises, investors are hoping first-quarter earnings will be strong enough to justify pricey market valuations.

* Of the 57 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings through Wednesday morning, 75.4 percent have topped expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above the 71 percent average for the past four quarters.

* Overall, profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 10.8 percent in the quarter, the best since 2011.

* Key companies scheduled to report results on Thursday include Dow component Visa, whose shares were up 1.4 percent at $90.99 in premarket trading, and toymaker Mattel .

* A closely watched poll showed Centrist Emmanuel Macron hung on to his lead as favorite to win France’s presidential election in a four-way race that is too close to call.

* Economic data due on Thursday includes weekly jobless claims, which are expected to rise to 242,000 from 234,000. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).

* Oil prices regained some ground, after steep losses in the previous session, as leading oil producers signaled a likely extension of OPEC-led supply cuts beyond the middle of the year. Still, bloated inventories continue to weigh.

* Qualcomm rose 2.6 percent to $54 after the largest maker of chips used in smartphones, reported quarterly revenue and profit that beat analysts’ estimates.

* EBay fell 1.9 percent to $33.22 after the company forecast second-quarter profit that fell short of analysts’ estimates.

Futures snapshot at 6:19 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 41 points, or 0.2 percent, with 22,778 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 6.5 points, or 0.28 percent, with 106,568 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 17.5 points, or 0.32 percent, on volume of 19,232 contracts. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)

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