* U.S. retail sales barely rise in Sept
* China consumer inflation rises 1.6 pct in Sept
* JPMorgan falls, Bank of America rises after results
* Indexes up: Dow 0.03 pct, S&P 0.12 pct, Nasdaq 0.32 pct (Updates to open)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Oct 14 (Reuters) - Wall Street was slightly higher on Wednesday as investors assessed earnings from major U.S. banks and health care stocks bounced back.
Fresh economic data from China, however, appeared to limit gains - consumer inflation in the world’s second-biggest economy cooled more than expected in September.
While the health of China’s economy continues to remain a concern, investors are focusing on company results.
“When you have these major banks reporting, you really get a very good cross profile of what’s going on with the economy in the United States,” said Mark Spellman, portfolio manager at Alpine Funds.
JPMorgan shares fell 1.6 percent to $60.54 and were the biggest drag on the Dow Jones industrial average, a day after the bank reported third-quarter results that fell short of estimates.
Bank of America rose 2 percent to $15.83 after the bank reported a profit, compared with a year-earlier loss. The stock gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500.
Wells Fargo fell 1.9 percent to $50.86 after reporting results.
S&P 500 companies are expected to report a 4.8 percent decline in third-quarter profit, the biggest in six years, according to Thomson Reuters data.
At 9:51 a.m. ET (1351 GMT), the Dow was up 4.57 points, or 0.03 percent, at 17,086.46, the S&P was up 2.47 points, or 0.12 percent, at 2,006.16 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 15.12 points, or 0.32 percent, at 4,811.73.
Eight of the 10 major S&P sectors rose, with the health sector’s 0.9 percent rise leading the advancers. Pfizer and Gilead provided the biggest boost to the health index.
U.S. stocks ended a seven-day run of gains on Tuesday, hurt by a renewed rout in biotechs.
The dollar index fell 0.3 percent to 94.434 on Wednesday, its lowest since Sept. 18, as traders bet on the U.S. Federal Reserve keeping interest rates at near-zero levels for longer.
The Fed, which has not raised rates since 2006, has said it will wait for clear signs of economic stability before it pulls the trigger.
Delta Air Lines rose 2.4 percent to $48.87 after its quarterly profit beat estimates.
Intel fell 3.2 percent to $31.0 after the world’s biggest chipmaker cut its outlook on Tuesday on revenue growth at its key data center business.
In U.S. data, retail sales edged up 0.1 percent last month after being flat in August, pointing to sluggish domestic demand.
The Fed will issue its Beige Book, which contains anecdotal information on business activity, later in the day. The data is expected to show an increase in the budget deficit to $95.0 billion in September from $64.4 billion in August.
Sandisk rose 11.9 percent to $69.24 on a Bloomberg report that Micron Tech and Western Digital were in talks to buy the memory chip maker. Micron rose 2.3 percent.
TripAdvisor soared 24 percent to $82.69 after the company announced a room-booking deal with Priceline.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,332 to 1,139. On the Nasdaq, 1,155 issues rose and 874 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed one new 52-week high and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 5 new highs and nine new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)