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Futures rise as Syria fears wane, focus shifts to earnings

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(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, while turning their focus to the earnings season.

Saturday’s strikes marked the biggest intervention by Western countries against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ally Russia, which is facing further economic sanctions over its role in the conflict.

“The action was well-received ... and that’s giving a chance for investors to focus on macro news and earnings,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“It’s not going to be a negative unless it turns into a bigger conflict. It’s going to be a day where the market is going to attempt to move a bit higher.”

Shares of Bank of America (BAC.N) rose 0.84 percent in premarket trading after the lender reported a better-than-expected increase in quarterly profit.

Shares of JPMorgan (JPM.N), Wells Fargo (WFC.N) and Citigroup (C.N), all of which reported on Friday, were also higher.

Analysts are expecting the S&P 500 companies to record an 18.6 percent rise in profit, their strongest earnings growth in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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

At 8:44 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 158 points, or 0.65 percent. S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 rose 16.25 points, or 0.61 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 gained 41.75 points, or 0.63 percent.

Waning fears of a broader conflict in Syria pushed short-dated U.S. Treasury yields to their highest level in almost a decade, while crude oil prices eased due to a rise in U.S. drilling activity. [US/] [O/R]

“We’re seeing a little bit of an uptick in yields and pullback in oil, and those are likely to constrain any strong reaction to earnings and macro news,” said Cardillo.

Data on Monday showed U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in March, rising after three straight monthly declines, as households boosted purchases of motor vehicles and other big-ticket items.

Shares of Netflix (NFLX.O), which is expected to report results after market close on Monday, rose 1.44 percent.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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