US STOCKS-Wall St to rise after Chinese data, Yahoo up on Alibaba

Last Updated: Wed, Apr 16, 2014 13:10 hrs

* China's growth slows, but exceeds median forecast

* Bank of America posts loss, shares fall

* Futures up: Dow 60 pts, S&P 7 pts, Nasdaq 13 pts (Updates prices, adds byline)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, April 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to rise at the open on Wednesday after China's economic growth exceeded expectations and Yahoo shares rallied on the strength of revenue growth in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, in which it has a stake.

* China, the world's second-largest economy, grew at its slowest pace in 18 months at the start of 2014, but the rise was better than expected and showed some improvement in March.

* Revenue growth accelerated in the last quarter of 2013 for Alibaba , a timely lift as it prepares for a highly anticipated U.S. initial public offering. Shares of Yahoo, which holds 24 percent of Alibaba, rallied 7.7 percent in premarket trading despite posting anemic growth.

* S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 7 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 60 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 13 points.

* Bank of America posted a first-quarter loss as the No. 2 U.S. bank recorded $6 billion in litigation expenses related to a settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency and other mortgage-related matters. The bank's shares fell 0.5 percent in volatile premarket trading.

* Futures held on to most of their gains even as U.S. housing starts rose less than expected in March and building permits fell, pointing to underlying weakness in the housing market. However applications for home mortgages rose last week as interest rates declined.

* Markets continue to keep an eye on east Ukraine, where government forces and separatist pro-Russian militia staged rival shows of force on the eve of talks in Geneva on the former Soviet country's future. (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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