GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. stocks mixed, crude higher; caution key

Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:18am EST

* U.S. stock indexes mixed, crude higher

* Caution grows ahead of U.S. GDP, payrolls reports

* Euro holds near 11-month high

NEW YORK, Jan 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were mixed on Monday, a little more positive than those elsewhere in the world, and oil prices rose following strong U.S. durable goods data and earnings results from Caterpillar.

A strong start to the earnings season has boosted equities, with major averages rising for four straight weeks. The S&P has gained for eight straight days, its longest winning streak in eight years.

But there is wariness in anticipation of a series of significant U.S. economic events this week, including the initial estimate of fourth quarter GDP, the Federal Reserve's first policy meeting of the year and January payrolls data.

Still, durable goods jumped 4.6 percent in December, a pace that far outstripped expectations for a rise of 1.8 percent. . And in the housing market, contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly fell in December after three months of gains, but the recovery there remains intact. .

"You can't find more of a global bellwether than Cat, and people are pleased with the number, which suggests there could be less concern about slowing growth in China after this," said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at John Thomas Financial in New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 14.61 points, or 0.11 percent, at 13,881.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 3.45 points, or 0.23 percent, at 1,499.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 6.11 points, or 0.19 percent, at 3,155.82.

In commodity markets Brent oil prices steadied near a three-month high at just over $113 a barrel before the Fed's two-day meeting that starts on Tuesday and the employment data on Friday that should show more signs of recovery in the world's biggest oil consumer.

U.S. light sweet crude oil rose 25 cents, or 0.26 percent, to $96.13 per barrel.

Other commodities also rose on evidence that the world's number two economy China is now picking up pace, along with optimism that the worst is past for the euro zone's debt crisis worst, about Japan's efforts to revive its stagnant economy and signs of U.S. growth.

The euro was at US$1.3457.