April 12, 2018 / 1:08 PM / 13 days ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set for gains on earnings optimism, Syria worries ebb

* BlackRock beats Q1 profit estimates, shares up 1.5 pct

* “Never said when attack on Syria would take place” - Trump

* Bed Bath & Beyond sinks after weak 2018 profit forecast

* Futures up: Dow 0.61 pct, S&P 0.55 pct, Nasdaq 0.63 pct (Adds comments, details, updates prices)

By Sruthi Shankar

April 12 (Reuters) - The Dow Jones Industrial Average was set to open with gains of more than 100 points on Thursday as expectations that lower U.S. taxes would fuel corporate earnings added to a slight easing of nerves over Syria.

The world’s largest asset manager BlackRock Inc reported quarterly profit above Wall Street estimates, kicking off the first-quarter earnings season. Its shares were up 1.5 percent in premarket trading.

Analysts expect quarterly profits for S&P 500 companies to rise 18.5 percent from a year ago, the biggest gain in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“We’re seeing some early optimism ahead of earnings and there’s no bad news for the moment, be it back and forth between Russia and the U.S. or trade war situation,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville.

“This is first full quarter with new taxes... that is a variable that could work very positively in the favor of investors.”

By 8:36 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 148 points, or 0.61 percent, S&P 500 e-minis rose 14.5 points, or 0.55 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis gained 41.75 points, or 0.63 percent.

U.S. President Donald Trump toned down his threats of a swift military strike on Syria, tweeting “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”

His comments came a day after he tweeted that missiles “will be coming”, threatening a confrontation with Russia over Syria.

Economic data on Thursday also helped the positive sentiment. New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength.

Among other stocks, Bed Bath & Beyond shares dived more than 17 percent after the company provided lower-than-expected full-year profit forecast.

Delta Air Lines jumped more than 2 percent after the U.S. carrier reported a rise in quarterly revenue, boosted by higher average fares and passenger traffic.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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