July 13, 2018 / 11:49 AM / 4 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures flat as JP Morgan kicks off earnings season

* Dow up 0.02 pct, S&P flat, Nasdaq up 0.07 pct

By Amy Caren Daniel

July 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Friday as robust results from JP Morgan aided sentiment at a time of continuing fear over the trade conflict between the United States and China.

JPMorgan’s shares rose 0.4 percent in premarket trading after the lender reported second-quarter profit that topped Wall Street expectations on gains from higher interest rates, increased loan demand and higher trading revenue.

Wells Fargo and Citigroup, reporting results at 8:00 a.m. ET (12 GMT), were up 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent respectively. PNC Financial rose 1.4 percent after the regional bank posted a quarterly profit that beat analysts’ estimates.

The results from the banks kick off earnings season in earnest, with profits of S&P 500 companies expected to have surged around 21 percent in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

However, investors and analysts will also keep an eye out for company forecasts and management commentary to gauge the impact of the U.S.-China trade war on results in the coming quarters.

Earlier in the day, data showed China’s trade surplus with the United States swelled to a record in June as its overall exports grew at a solid pace, a result that could further inflame the bitter trade dispute with Washington.

President Donald Trump, who has demanded Beijing cut the trade surplus, could use the latest result to further ratchet up pressure on China. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday the countries could reopen trade talks if Beijing was willing to make significant changes.

Trump also criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy, saying it had probably killed off hope of a trade deal between the countries. Hours later he said the relationship between the countries was “very, very strong”.

At 7:17 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.02 percent. S&P 500 e-minis remained unchanged and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 5.5 points, or 0.07 percent.

Among stocks, Johnson & Johnson fell 2.4 percent after a jury on Thursday ordered the company to pay a record $4.69 billion to 22 women who alleged its talc-based products, contain asbestos and caused them to develop ovarian cancer.

AT&T Inc’s shares fell 1.3 percent after the U.S. Justice Department said it would appeal a federal judge’s approval of the telecom company’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner, which has already closed. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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