July 9, 2018 / 3:45 PM / 5 months ago

US STOCKS-Bank, industrial stocks lift Wall St as investors await strong quarter

* S&P banks index on track for best day since June 6

* Caterpillar up over 3.5 pct as trade war fears ease

* Twitter slides on report of account suspension

* Indexes up: Dow 1.09 pct, S&P 0.70 pct, Nasdaq 0.5 pct (Changes comment, adds details, updates prices)

By Sruthi Shankar

July 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Monday, with banking and industrial shares driving a third day of gains on Wall Street as investors looked ahead to a strong quarterly earnings season, setting aside trade concerns.

Bank stocks were the biggest gainers, with the S&P banks index rising 2.2 percent, on track for its biggest percentage gain in over a month, helped by a rise in U.S. yields.

JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup are scheduled to report on Friday, kicking off the second quarter earnings season in earnest.

“The market is anticipating a very good earnings season and ignoring any trade issues,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

“We’re not likely to get much color on trade from this earnings, so the expectation is still for a very good season.”

The United States and China slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s goods worth $34 billion on Friday, escalating a months-long trade dispute between the two countries.

But a strong U.S. jobs data and hope that the tariff enactment would not intensify to an all-out trade war helped the U.S. stocks close higher on Friday.

Estimates for S&P 500 second-quarter profit growth have risen slightly since April, putting the latest forecast at around 20.7 percent, based on Thomson Reuters data. Given that the majority of companies typically beat analysts’ earnings expectations, that number is likely to rise.

At 11:15 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 267.57 points, or 1.09 percent, at 24,724.05, the S&P 500 was up 19.36 points, or 0.70 percent, at 2,779.18 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 38.48 points, or 0.50 percent, at 7,726.87.

Caterpillar rose 3.5 percent, providing the biggest boost to the Dow. The S&P industrial sector jumped 1.7 percent, with defense stocks Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman all gaining.

Tesla was up 1.1 percent after automotive news website Electrek reported the company hiked prices of its Model X and S cars by over $20,000 in China due to tariffs.

Twitter sank 8.3 percent after a Washington Post report on social media company’s suspension of accounts, which analysts said would be negative for user growth.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 2.06-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.60-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 19 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 121 new highs and 19 new lows. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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