US STOCKS-Futures rise on strong earnings from Netflix, health majors

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* Futures up: Dow 0.61 pct, S&P 0.51 pct, Nasdaq 0.51 pct

By Sruthi Shankar

April 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose onTuesday as strong earnings from Netflix, Johnson & Johnson andUnitedHealth boosted optimism over what is expected to be thestrongest earnings season in seven years.

NetflixNFLX.O shares surged 6.44 percent premarket afterthe video-streaming pioneer smashed analysts' quarterlysubscriber estimates, helped by a blitz of original content. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1RT5Q4

The stock, the best performer on the S&P 500 .SPX thisyear, was the top gainer among S&P and Nasdaq .IXIC componentsin premarket trading.

On the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI , which is downabout 0.6 percent so far this year, health stocks led thegainers.

UnitedHealthUNH.N rose 1.78 percent after the largestU.S. health insurer raised its earnings forecast and postedresults that beat Wall Street estimates. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1RU457

J&J JNJ.N rose 0.94 percent after reporting a 12.6 percentrise in sales. Goldman SachsGS.N shares rose 0.4 percentafter the investment bank reported 27 percent surge in profit. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1RU4DVurn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1RU4F1

The results will add to optimism about first-quarterearnings growth, which is expected to be the strongest in sevenyears. Analysts expect S&P companies' profit rose 18.6 percentin the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Investors have shifted their focus from geopolitical andtrade concerns, which have roiled the markets in the recentmonths.

However, U.S.-China trade issues continue to simmer. Chinamoved to slap a hefty temporary deposit on imports of U.S.sorghum in a preliminary antidumping ruling. Archer Daniel ADM.N , a top seller of U.S. sorghum into China, was down 0.9percent. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1RU37T

The move came a day after the United States banned Americancompanies from selling parts and software to China'sZTE Corp0763.HK for seven years. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1RU3GJ

A U.S.-led attack on Syria over the weekend has so far notprompted any military retaliation from Russia, easing fears overthe conflict escalating.

Tesla TSLA.O shares fell 0.84 percent after the electriccar maker temporarily suspended its Model 3 assembly line, inwhat it said was a planned production pause. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1RT2AZ

Data on U.S. homebuilding and industrial production areexpected ahead of the opening bell. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by ShounakDasgupta) ((sruthi.shankar@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 2238780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6328; Reuters Messaging:sruthi.shankar.reuters.com@reuters.net))

This article appears in: World Markets , US Markets , Stocks

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