By Amy Caren Daniel
April 16 () - U.S. stock index futures inched higher on Tuesday, getting a lift from a clutch of upbeat quarterly reports from Bank of America, UnitedHealth and Johnson & Johnson.
Investors are looking to the ongoing first-quarter earnings season to help sustain Wall Street's rally this year from a selloff in late-2018. The benchmark S&P index is now within a percent of its closing record high hit in September.
Johnson & Johnson gained 1.0% after the U.S. healthcare conglomerate beat quarterly profit estimates and raised its adjusted sales growth forecast for the year.
Bank of America Corp reported a better-than-expected rise in quarterly profit, helped by a growing loan book and cost cuts. Shares were marginally higher.
Bank results have been mixed so far. JPMorgan Chase & Co kicked off earnings for the group on a strong note on Friday, but Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Citigroup Inc disappointed on Monday with revenue misses.
Among big names reporting after markets close include Netflix Inc and International Business Machines Corp .
Analysts now expect S&P 500 companies to post a 2.1% year-on-year decline in profits, which would mark their first annual decline in earnings since 2016.
At 6:54 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 122 points, or 0.46%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 9.5 points, or 0.33% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 33 points, or 0.43%.
J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc fell 4.6% after the transport and logistics provider's first-quarter profit and revenue fell short of estimates.
On the macro front, industrial production is expected to rise 0.2 percent in March following a 0.1% rise in February. The data is due at 9:15 a.m. ET.