Wall St. set to rise on Disney's surprise profit, upbeat healthcare results

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes were set to open higher on Wednesday as Disney’s surprise quarterly profit and a slate of upbeat results from healthcare companies lifted sentiment ahead of service sector data.

Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) shares jumped 6.6% premarket and were set to hit a two-month high as revenue declines for its parks and media networks were not as bad as feared.

Drugstore operator and health insurer CVS Health Corp (CVS.N) raised its full-year profit forecast, while Humana Inc (HUM.N) and drugmaker Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (REGN.O) beat estimates for quarterly profit. Their shares rose about 3% each after results.

“Disney’s beat helped continue the market’s advance. In general, earnings have been coming in better than expected,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist, CFRA Research.

Better-than-expected corporate results and a surge in shares of heavyweight technology companies have fueled a stimulus-driven rally in Wall Street’s main indexes, bringing the S&P 500 within 2.5% of its record high hit in February.

U.S. private payrolls increased by 167,000 in July after a strong rebound of 2.37 million in June, according to the ADP National Employment Report, a precursor to the monthly jobs report on Friday. Economists expected 1.5 million additions last month.

Focus now turns to ISM’s non-manufacturing survey, due later in the day.

Investors have been concerned about signs that the U.S. economic activity is stalling amid a surge in COVID-19 infections in parts of the country, strengthening the case for more fiscal aid.

White House negotiators on Tuesday vowed to work “around the clock” with congressional Democrats to try to reach a deal on coronavirus relief package by the end of this week.

At 8:25 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 177 points, or 0.66%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 15.5 points, or 0.47%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 16.25 points, or 0.15%.

Energy giants Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) rose about 2% each as oil prices rose to their highest since early March. [O/R]

Teladoc Health (TDOC.N) slipped 1.7% as the telehealth market leader said it would buy Livongo Health Inc (LVGO.O) in a cash-and-stock deal, valuing the company at $18.5 billion. Livongo shares advanced 7.6%.

Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) raised its full-year forecast for adjusted sales encouraged by a pandemic-driven surge in gaming. Its shares fell 1.5% after closing at a record high on Tuesday.

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