April 16, 2018 / 11:56 AM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Futures rise on hope Syria conflict will not escalate

* Futures up: Dow 0.63 pct, S&P 0.61 pct, Nasdaq 0.62 pct

By Sruthi Shankar

April 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Monday as investors bet the weekend’s U.S.-led missile attack on Syria would not escalate into a broader conflict.

The focus was back on earnings, with Bank of America reporting a 34 percent rise in quarterly profit. Its shares were up 0.84 percent in premarket trading.

JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup kicked off the quarterly earnings season on Friday, although their performances failed to excite investors.

Thomson Reuters data is expecting S&P 500 companies to report an 18.6 percent rise in profits in the first quarter, their biggest rise in seven years.

Many traders say that reactions to results could be muted as market participants have already priced in benefits from corporate tax cuts, reflected in the stock market’s strong rally in 2017 and early 2018.

At 7:01 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 154 points, or 0.63 percent. S&P 500 e-minis rose 16.25 points, or 0.61 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis gained 41.5 points, or 0.62 percent.

On Saturday, the United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles on Syria in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack.

The countries said the missile strikes targeted Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities and were not aimed at toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or intervening in the civil war.

President Donald Trump tweeted “mission accomplished” after the attack, underlining expectations that Western action would be limited.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, as Washington prepared to increase pressure on Russia with new economic sanctions.

Retail sales data for March is scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. ET. Sales are expected to have increased 0.4 percent after falling for the previous three months that prompted analysts to downgrade their first-quarter economic growth forecasts.

Among other stocks, General Electric shares were down more than 1 percent after the company said it took a $4.24 billion equity charge and reduced earnings for the last two years by 30 cents a share.

Netflix shares rose 1.44 percent ahead of its results expected after market close on Monday. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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