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By Vivianne Rodrigues

Written by: Staff

NEW YORK, Apr 17 (Reuters) U.S. stock index futures indicated a slightly higher market open on Monday as Citigroup Inc. said first-quarter profit rose, renewing optimism about corporate profits, but a jump in oil to could weigh on sentiment.

Citigroup. the largest U.S. bank and a Dow component, said first-quarter profit rose 4 percent helped by increased revenue from foreign operations. ID:nWEN4597 Other banks are expected to report results on Monday, with earnings due from JPMorgan Chase&Co., Bank of America Corp.

and Merrill Lynch&Co..

Still, a rebound in oil prices may limit gains in stocks, analysts said. Oil leapt to a barrel for the first time in seven and a half months on Monday, extending strong gains made last week as tensions mounted between Iran and the West over Tehran's nuclear ambitions. ID:nSP27287 ''Earnings this week, starting with Citi, will probably come on the strong side,'' said Peter Cardillo, chief market analyst at SW Bach&Co. ''But with oil near a barrel and tensions mounting in Iran, stock investors may focus on geopolitics and not on corporate results.'' S&P 500 futures were up 1.90 points, above fair value, a mathematical formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.

Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 14 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 1.25 point.

U.S. May crude oil futures traded up 42 cents at .74 a barrel, having hit earlier, the highest since Hurricane Katrina battered the U.S. Gulf Coast in late August last year to send futures to a record high of .85.

A flurry of earnings reports this week will come from tech bellwethers Intel Corp. and Apple Computer Inc., plus some big Internet names, such as Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and eBay Inc., will report quarterly results this week.

Also on the corporate front, shares in Bear Stearns Cos. may be in focus on Monday. China Construction Bank Corp., one of China's largest state-controlled banks, said it was in early talks with Bear Stearns that could lead to its taking a minority stake in the Wall Street securities firm, the Wall Street Journal said on Monday. ID:nN17236480 When Wall Street wrapped up the holiday-shortened week on Thursday, only the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI> was higher -- up 0.16 percent. The Standard&Poor's 500 Index .SPX> fell 0.49 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC> ended the week down 0.55 percent.


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