April 18, 2018 / 11:48 AM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures rise as 1st-qtr earnings off to strong start

* Futures up: Dow 0.25 pct, S&P 0.28 pct, Nasdaq 0.27 pct

By Sruthi Shankar

April 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stock futures rose on Wednesday after the latest batch of results including Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley added to optimism about the U.S. corporate reporting season.

Morgan Stanley jumped 2.6 percent after the company reported a 40 percent jump in quarterly profit, helped by higher trading revenue, wrapping up earnings for the big U.S. banks.

The S&P 500 companies are expected to post an 18.6 percent rise in profits in the first quarter, the biggest increase in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

At 6:58 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 63 points, or 0.25 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.5 points, or 0.28 percent, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 18.25 points, or 0.27 percent.

The main indexes have gained solidly in the past two days after stellar results from industry bellwethers as well as strong economic data, helping investors turn attention away from geopolitical and trade tensions, which have upset the markets in the recent months.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director and his nominee to be the top U.S. diplomat, met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week.

“Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!” Trump said on Twitter.

The CBOE Volatility index, a measure of short-term stocks market volatility hit a level not seen in more than 5 weeks at 14.57. It was last down at 15.26 points.

United Airlines rose 3.22 percent after the company reported a rise in profit, helped by higher fares.

CSX Corp was up 4.3 percent after the No. 3 U.S. railroad operator topped profit estimates, benefiting from a cost-cutting drive.

IBM, a Dow component, fell about 5 percent after the technology company reported profit margins that fell short of Wall Street expectations.

Ebay jumped 4.2 percent after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock by two notches to “overweight”, encouraged by the company’s payments initiatives.

Federal Reserve issues its so-called Beige Book, a compendium of anecdotes on the health of the economy drawn from the central bank’s sources across the nation. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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