April 20, 2016 / 3:42 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St edges up as oil rebounds

* Crude pare losses after U.S. stockpiles data

* Coca-Cola sinks as quarterly sales drops

* VMWare, Discover Financial jump after earnings beat

* Indexes up: Dow 0.24 pct, S&P 0.18 pct, Nasdaq 0.38 pct (Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)

By Abhiram Nandakumar

April 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were slightly higher on Wednesday as a recovery in oil added to the boost from earnings reports that beat tempered expectations.

Crude pared earlier losses after a report showed a less-than-expected build in U.S. stockpiles.

A three-day strike by Kuwaiti oil workers had driven prices higher and helped the S&P 500 breach 2,100 on Tuesday, about 30 points shy of its record high.

A recent rebound in oil and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy helped the index recover from a steep selloff earlier this year.

Investors are focused on the earnings season as they seek catalysts to drive stocks higher. Big-bank earnings reports last week were better than expected and helped lift sentiment, even though expectations for profit growth are bleak.

“The momentum is still skewed to the positive despite the earnings data and some of the mixed economic data,” said Anthony Valeri, an investment strategist for LPL Financial in San Diego.

Valeri said the improvement in China and continued stability in the price of oil were also adding to the optimism.

Data on Wednesday showed U.S. home resales rose more than expected in March, pointing to a continued recovery in the housing market, despite signs of sluggish first-quarter economic growth.

First-quarter earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to have fallen 7.5 percent on average and revenues are seen dipping 1.3 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

At 11:37 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 43.76 points, or 0.24 percent, at 18,097.36, the S&P 500 was up 3.87 points, or 0.18 percent, at 2,104.67 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 18.79 points, or 0.38 percent, at 4,959.12.

Seven of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower. Consumer staples fell 1.21 percent, dragged down by Coca-Cola.

The company’s shares fell 4.5 percent to $44.50 after its sales dropped for the fourth straight quarter. The stock was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and the second biggest on the Dow.

Intuitive Surgical’s 4.2 percent rise to $650 propped up the healthcare sector after the company’s profit beat estimates.

Better-than-expected quarterly profits pushed stocks higher, with VMWare up 14 percent, Discover Financial Services 6.9 percent, Yahoo 3 percent and EMC up 2.8 percent.

Lexmark jumped 10 percent to $38.13 after it agreed to be taken private by a group of investors led by China-based Apex Technology Co and PAG Asia Capital in a deal valued at $3.6 billion net of cash.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,414 to 1,389. On the Nasdaq, 1,311 issues rose and 1,257 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 17 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 34 new highs and eight lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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