July 10, 2018 / 3:52 PM / 4 months ago

US STOCKS-Pepsi, oil drive S&P 500 to 4-month high

* Energy shares jump as oil prices gain on shortages

* PepsiCo’s best day in 7 yrs on strong Q2

* S&P 500 Q2 earnings growth seen at 21 pct -TR I/B/E/S

* Tesla gains on plans to open new plant in Shanghai

* Indexes up: Dow 0.49 pct, S&P 0.24 pct, Nasdaq 0.09 pct (Changes comment, adds details, changes prices)

By Amy Caren Daniel

July 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 hitting a four-month high, as energy companies got a lift from firming oil prices and strong results from PepsiCo signaled a flying start to the second-quarter earnings season.

PepsiCo’s shares surged 3.7 percent and were poised for their biggest one-day jump in nearly seven years, after the company’s second-quarter results topped estimates on strong sales of snacks.

The company also reaffirmed its full-year forecast amid signs of a gradual recovery in its soda business.

PepsiCo’s surge helped drive a 0.66 percent gain in the consumer staples index, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors. Rival Coca-Cola rose nearly 1 percent.

The energy index was the next biggest gainer, rising 0.72 percent as oil prices rose due to growing supply outages.

Shares of Exxon, Chevron and Schlumberger were all up around 1 percent.

“We have a fairly broad rally in the market today. We have a market that is generating added enthusiasm ahead of earnings.” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville.

Overall, S&P 500 companies are expected to post second-quarter profit growth of around 21 percent, slightly higher than what was forecast in April, according to Thomson Reuters data.

However, investors and analysts will parse quarterly reports to gauge the impact of an escalating trade dispute between China and the United States on company earnings.

“I believe investors have been put through an emotional roller coaster with the trade situation with China. If the market can see solid second-quarter earnings come through, that’s going to diminish the concern of tariff and trade wars,” Bakhos said.

At 11:26 a.m. EDT, the S&P 500 was up 6.60 points, or 0.24 percent, at 2,790.77. The index reached a peak of 2,795.58, its highest since March 13.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 120.48 points, or 0.49 percent, at 24,897.07, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 7.29 points, or 0.09 percent, at 7,763.49.

Ten of the 11 S&P sectors were higher, with the trade-sensitive industrial sector slightly lower. The financial sector was flat, after a 2.3 percent surge on Monday.

JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup are scheduled to report results on Friday, kicking off the earnings season in earnest. Their shares were little changed.

Tesla Inc rose 1.4 percent after CEO Elon Musk landed a deal with Chinese authorities to build a new auto plant in Shanghai, its first factory outside the United States, that would double its manufacturing capacity.

Rating downgrades on eBay, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Cerner also pulled shares of the three S&P 500 components down between 1.7 percent and 4.6 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.08-to-1 ratio on the NYSE, while declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.17-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 27 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 85 new highs and 14 new lows.

Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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