US STOCKS-Wall Street flat as investors absorb earnings, data

Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:23am EDT

* Empire State rises but retail sales disappoint

* Citigroup shares jump after earnings

* Leap shares more than double

* Dow flat, S&P off 0.1 pct, Nasdaq off 0.1 pct

By Leah Schnurr and Alison Griswold

NEW YORK, July 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed at the open on Monday after hitting record highs in the previous session, as better-than-expected earnings from Citigroup were offset by mixed U.S. economic data.

Shares of Citigroup advanced 1.8 percent to $51.72 after the third-largest U.S. bank by assets reported a 26 percent increase in adjusted quarterly profit. The S&P 500 financial industry sector index was up 0.2 percent.

Leap Wireless International Inc more than doubled after AT&T Inc said Friday it would buy the company for $1.19 billion and at least two brokerages raised their ratings on Leap's stock. The stock was trading at $17.16 and was the most active on the Nasdaq.

Action on the broader market was more muted, as indexes declined slightly. The day's economic data sent mixed signals, with growth in New York state manufacturing for July accelerating but June retail sales disappointing.

"It looks like we're in for a little bit of a pause at the open," said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial in Westport, Connecticut. "It's still early to get a sense for overall earnings."

Analysts expect S&P 500 companies' second-quarter earnings to have grown 2.8 percent from a year earlier, with revenue up 1.5 percent, data from Thomson Reuters showed. Cintas Corp is expected to report after the close.

S&P 500 industrial shares also rose, as airlines over the weekend expressed confidence in the safety of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner following a fire on one of the jets last week. Boeing gained 2.1 percent to $103.93.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 4.83 points, or 0.03 percent, at 15,469.13. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index edged down 0.11 points, or 0.01 percent, at 1,680.08, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was off 1.62 points, or 0.05 percent, at 3,598.46.

Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 ended Friday's session at record closing highs, though the point and percentage gains for the day were slim.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch raised its year-end target for the S&P 500 to 1,750 from 1,600, citing expected earnings growth.

Over the past three weeks, the benchmark S&P 500 has erased losses of nearly 6 percent from the selloff triggered in late May by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, when he first raised the prospect of trimming the Fed's $85 billion in monthly bond purchases. Since then, Bernanke and other Fed officials have reassured investors that the central bank will keep monetary policy loose for some time.

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