April 24, 2018 / 12:02 PM / 2 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures rise as Caterpillar leads batch of strong earnings

* Caterpillar, United Tech among Dow members to top results

* Verizon, Coca-Cola profit also beat estimates

* Google-parent Alphabet dips on worries of rising costs

* Futures up: Dow 0.63 pct, S&P 0.58 pct, Nasdaq 0.55 pct

By Sruthi Shankar

April 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Tuesday as bond yields eased, while strong earnings from industrial heavyweights Caterpillar and United Technologies helped reinforce optimism about a first-quarter earnings season now in full swing.

A slew of strong reports from Dow Jones Industrial Average components put the blue-chip index on track to open up more than 160 points.

Shares of Caterpillar jumped 3.7 percent in premarket trading, while Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines-maker United Tech rose 2.6 percent after the companies topped quarterly profit estimates and raised their full-year earnings forecasts.

Coca-Cola was up 1.2 percent after its revenue beat estimates, helped by higher demand for Coke Zero Sugar and new flavors of Diet Coke. Verizon gained 3 percent after its profit beat expectations.

Earnings have been a bright spot, diverting attention from geopolitical and trade worries and, lately, a jump in 10-year U.S. government bond yields.

About 18 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported first-quarter results as of Monday, with 78 percent topping profit estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Strong reports have pushed up analysts’ estimates for the quarter’s earnings growth to nearly 20 percent, from 18.6 percent at the start of the earnings season, the strongest in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

At 7:47 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 155 points, or 0.63 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 15.5 points, or 0.58 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 36.75 points, or 0.55 percent.

One dampener was Google-parent Alphabet, which dipped 0.5 percent after its profit beat Wall Street estimates but its costs rose.

Not all results from Dow components were strong. Travelers fell 2 percent after the insurer’s profit missed estimates. 3M fell 3.2 percent after its results.

Yields on the benchmark 10-year U.S. bonds were 2.9715 percent. They came within striking distance of 3 percent on Monday due to a growing supply of government debt and accelerating inflation as commodity prices gained.

Oil rose above $75 a barrel to its highest since November 2014, supported by OPEC-led production cuts, strong demand and the prospect of renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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