US STOCKS-Gains in Walt Disney, bank shares buoy Wall Street
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* JPM rises after Q1 profit beat
* Anadarko jumps on Chevron's$33 bln deal
* Indexes up: Dow 0.74%, S&P 0.44%, Nasdaq 0.23% (Adds comments, updates prices)
By Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar
April 12 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 crossed the 2,900 mark forthe first time since early October on Friday, boosted by a jumpin Walt Disney shares and as bank stocks surged after strongresults from JPMorgan.
Shares of the largest U.S. bank by assets JPM.N rose 3.83%after the company beat quarterly profit estimates, easing fearsthat slowing economic growth could weigh on its results.
The S&P financial index .SPSY rose 1.43%, providing thebiggest boost to the main index, while the S&P banks index .SPXBK gained 1.67%.
The main U.S. indexes have been in a holding pattern aheadof the first-quarter earnings season, which many analysts saycould witness the first quarterly drop in S&P 500 profit since2016.
Shares of Well Fargo & Co WFC.N , however, fell 2.18% afterthe lender cut its forecast for 2019 net interest income. PNCFinancial Services Group IncPNC.N rose 2.18% after itsfirst-quarter profit met estimates.
"JPMorgan reporting better-than-expected results areobviously a boost to the market. It is early in earnings but atleast it's starting off good," said Ryan Nauman, marketstrategist at Informa Financial Intelligence in Zephyr Cove,Nevada.
Another big gainer was Walt Disney CoDIS.N , whose sharesjumped as much as 12.3% to hit a record of $130.90 after thecompany priced its streaming service in a bid to challenge thedigital dominance of Netflix IncNFLX.O . Netflix fell 3.41%.
The communication services sector .SPLRCL gained 0.84%.
At 11:01 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI wasup 193.49 points, or 0.74%, at 26,336.54, the S&P 500 .SPX wasup 12.67 points, or 0.44%, at 2,900.99 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 18.64 points, or 0.23%, at 7,965.99.
Analysts project earnings growth at S&P 500 companies todecline 2.3 percent in the first quarter as the impact of taxcuts fade and worries about global growth come to the fore. Bankearnings are expected to grow 3%, according to Refinitiv data.
"Expectations for this earnings cycle have been subdued, butafter results from these big financials it shows that thingshave started off really well. So one has to wonder maybe theexpectations were too low to begin with. But so far, so good,"Nauman added.
However, investors are hoping that the earnings season willbe better than feared, helping the U.S. indexes reach all-timehighs. The S&P 500 is just 1.4% away from a record high hit inSeptember.
The S&P 500 total return index .SPXT hit a record high onFriday, underscoring the importance of reinvesting dividends.
Data from China showed exports rebounded in March butimports shrank for a fourth straight month and at a sharperpace. The data, which eased concerns about a slowdown in world'ssecond largest economy, as well as a jump in oil prices offeredsupport to global equities. MKTS/GLOBO/R
Grabbing the spotlight in the energy sector was ChevronCorp's CVX.N$33 billion offer to buy smaller rival AnadarkoPetroleum CorpAPC.N . Shares of Anadarko jumped 32.44%, whileChevron fell 5.25%.
The S&P energy index .SPNY was up about 0.29%.
Shares of Anadarko and its peers led gains on the S&P 500.Devon Energy CorpDVN.N and EOG Resources IncEOG.N gainedmore than 5% each, while Marathon Oil CorpMRO.N was up 3.09%.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.77-to-1 ratioon the NYSE and by a 1.40-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 44 new 52-week highs and two newlows, while the Nasdaq recorded 67 new highs and 24 new lows. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru;Editing by Anil D'Silva) ((Shreyashi.Sanyal@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8780 ;Reuters Messaging:Shreyashi.Sanyal.firstname.lastname@example.org))