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US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher on robust healthcare earnings


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* UnitedHealth up after Q1 profit beat, forecast raise

* Johnson & Johnson rises after beat-and-raise quarter

* Futures up: Dow 0.66%, S&P 0.37%, Nasdaq 0.43% (Adds comment, updates prices)

By Amy Caren Daniel

April 16 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher onTuesday, as stellar results from blue-chip companies includingUnitedHealth and Johnson & Johnson lifted sentiment.

Investors are banking on the ongoing first-quarter earningsto fuel Wall Street's rally this year from a late-2018 slump.The benchmark S&P index .SPX is just about 1% away from itsclosing record high hit in September.

UnitedHealth Group IncUNH.N rose 3% in premarket tradingafter the largest U.S. health insurer beat quarterly profitestimates and raised its adjusted earnings target for the year. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N21Y2QE

Rivals Anthem IncANTM.N and Cigna CorpCI.N rose about1% each in light volumes.

Johnson & JohnsonJNJ.N gained 1.7% after the U.S.healthcare conglomerate beat quarterly profit estimates andraised its adjusted sales growth forecast for the year. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N21Y2WE

"UnitedHealth and Johnson & Johnson raising their forecastis a hugely good thing as heading into the year we thought wemight see an earnings pause or an earnings recession," said KimForrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners inPittsburgh.

"These companies who typically don't want to have apre-announcement saying they have to walk back on their earningsexpectations, for them to raise guidance is really good."

Bank earnings have been mixed so far.

Bank of America CorpBAC.N fell 0.7% after revenue missedexpectations in the first quarter but earnings still beatforecasts. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N21Y2XY

JPMorgan Chase & CoJPM.N kicked off earnings for thegroup on a strong note on Friday, but Goldman Sachs Group IncGS.N and Citigroup IncC.N disappointed on Monday withrevenue misses.

Among big names reporting after markets close are NetflixInc NFLX.O , up 2%, and International Business Machines CorpIBM.N which gained 0.4%.

Analysts now expect S&P 500 companies to post a 2.1%year-on-year decline in profits, which would mark their firstannual decline in earnings since 2016.

At 8:28 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 173 points, or0.66%. S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were up 10.75 points, or 0.37% andNasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 32.75 points, or 0.43%.

Among other earnings, J.B. Hunt Transport Services IncJBHT.O fell 4.2% after the transport and logistics provider'sfirst-quarter profit and revenue fell short of estimates.

BlackRock IncBLK.N rose 1.6% after the world's largestasset manager reported a better-than-expected first-quarterprofit. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N21Y2SK

On the macro front, industrial production is expected torise 0.2 percent in March following a 0.1% rise in February. Thedata is due at 9:15 a.m. ET. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by SrirajKalluvila) ((Amy.CarenDaniel@thomsonreuters.com ; within U.S.+1-646-223-8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 9250 ; ReutersMessaging: Amy.CarenDaniel.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net;))






This article appears in: World Markets , US Markets , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: ANTM ,




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