US STOCKS-Futures higher as earnings season kicks off
* Futures up: Dow 72 pts, S&P 8.75 pts, Nasdaq 20 pts
By Abhiram Nandakumar
April 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Monday as investors brace for the corporate earnings season, with Alcoa set to post first-quarter results after the market closes.
* Big bank earnings are on the cards through the week, starting with JPMorgan Chase & Co on Wednesday.
* Expectations are low for profit growth as companies struggle with a weak global economy, low commodity prices and the strengthening dollar.
* Earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to have declined 7.6 percent on average in the first quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data.
* Investors are still waiting for a clearer picture on monetary policy, with U.S. Federal Reserve appearing more cautious on rate hikes than the market had expected.
* U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Yellen on Monday to discuss the economy and Wall Street reform, the White House said on Sunday.
* Oil, which has mostly driven the direction of the stock market this year, was little changed ahead of a planned meeting by producers aimed at freezing output. Continuación...