US STOCKS-Wall Street boosted by gains in Walt Disney, bank shares
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* JPM rises after Q1 profit beat
* Anadarko jumps on Chevron's$33 bln deal
* Indexes up: Dow 1.01%, S&P 0.70%, Nasdaq 0.45% (Updates to open)
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 4.1%after the company beat quarterly profit estimates, easing fearsthat slowing economic growth could weigh on its results.
The S&P financial index .SPSY rose 2.3%, providing thebiggest boost to the main index, while the S&P banks index .SPXBK gained 2.9%.
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.
"The market has been stagnated for a while and when you geta good report like JPM then that's going to help sentiment andwill probably be the main focus for the next three weeks," saidRobert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfoliomanager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.
Shares of Well Fargo & Co WFC.N climbed 1.6% afterreporting a 16.4 percent increase in quarterly profit, while PNCFinancial Services Group IncPNC.N rose 2.5% after itsfirst-quarter profit met estimates.
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 shares were down 3.6%. The communication servicesindex .SPLRCL was up 1%.
At 9:55 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI wasup 263.82 points, or 1.01%, at 26,406.87, the S&P 500 .SPX wasup 20.17 points, or 0.70%, at 2,908.49 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 35.45 points, or 0.45%, at 7,982.81.
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.
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 1.1% away from a record high hit inSeptember.
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 32.2%, whileChevron fell 5.3%.
The S&P energy index .SPSY was up about 1%.
Shares of Anadarko's peers were also up on the news. DevonEnergy CorpDVN.N and EOG Resources IncEOG.N gained morethan 5% each, while Marathon Oil CorpMRO.N was up 4.5%.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.61-to-1 ratioon the NYSE and by a 2.27-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 39 new 52-week highs and one new low,while the Nasdaq recorded 61 new highs and 16 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))