(Corrects spelling error in first paragraph)
* Bank of America profit rises as costs fall
* Delta profit up, helped by cheap fuel
* Netflix to report after the bell
* Indexes up: Dow 0.36 pct, S&P 0.47 pct, Nasdaq 0.51 pct
By Noel Randewich
April 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, fueled by gains in the energy sector and speculation that upcoming first-quarter earnings reports might not be quite as bad as previously thought.
All 10 major S&P 500 sectors rose, with the energy index up 1.89 percent. U.S. crude jumped more than 4 percent after a lower-than-expected build of crude stockpiles in the United States.
Intel jumped 4.5 percent to $32.91 after it said late on Tuesday it expects flat revenue for the entire year, despite some weakness in the first quarter.
Investors have feared that the March-quarter earnings season, just getting under way, would be hurt by low oil prices, a strong dollar and extreme weather in the eastern United States. First-quarter profits for S&P 500 companies are seen dropping 2.6 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.
But of the 36 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported so far, 81 percent beat expectations, better than the 63 percent of companies exceeding expectations in a typical quarter.
“Management has done a good job guiding market expectations to an appropriate level, and now they’re stepping over a lowered bar,” said Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist and director of asset allocation at RidgeWorth Investments in Atlanta, Georgia. “Fundamentals in the equity market remain good.”
Delta Air Lines’ first-quarter profit topped analysts’ expectations, one of many industrial and transportion companies that benefit from cheap oil and its derivatives. Its stock rose 1.7 percent to $43.82.
At 12:50 p.m. the Dow Jones industrial average rose 64.26 points, or 0.36 percent, to 18,100.96, the S&P 500 gained 9.9 points, or 0.47 percent, to 2,105.74 and the Nasdaq Composite added 25.57 points, or 0.51 percent, to 5,002.85.
HCA Holdings’ shares were up 2.52 percent at $79.29 after the hospital operator said it expects first-quarter results above analysts’ expectations.
Bank of America’s shares were down 1.14 percent at $15.64. The No. 2 U.S. bank by assets’ first-quarter profit narrowly beat analysts’ estimates.
Video streaming company Netflix will report after the market close.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,061 to 928, for a 2.22-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,805 issues rose and 867 fell for a 2.08-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 15 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 74 new highs and 15 new lows. (Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)