US STOCKS-Wall St little changed after eight-day run

Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:38am EDT

* Goldman Sachs profit doubles, helped by bond trading

* Coke profit falls on wet weather, weak economy

* Indexes: Dow flat; S&P down 0.1 pct; Nasdaq flat

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, July 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Tuesday as profit-taking after the S&P 500's eight-day advance and investor caution ahead of the Federal Reserve Chairman's congressional testimony overshadowed solid results from Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson.

After closing at fresh record highs, the Dow and the S&P fluctuated between modest gains and losses in early trade. The Nasdaq, after closing at its highest since Sept. 2000, remained mostly in positive territory.

The market was also hesitant to make big bets ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. His comments will be closely analyzed for signs of when the central bank may start reducing its stimulus efforts.

"We expect Mr. Bernanke to stick to the script that the economy has made significant progress when compared to the months ahead of the onset of QE3," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

"Moreover, we would not be surprised to hear Mr. Bernanke discuss the implications of releasing the tapering genie from the bottle."

Also weighing on the market was Coca-Cola Co, which reported weaker-than-expected sales volumes due to ongoing economic malaise and unusually poor weather, sending its shares down more than 2 percent to $40.03.

But Johnson & Johnson shares rose 0.5 percent to $90.84 after reporting higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings as strong sales of prescription drugs and medical devices more than offset anemic growth of its consumer products.

Financial stocks were the day's outperformers with the S&P 500 financial sector index up 0.2 percent. But Goldman Sachs shares were down 0.1 percent at $162.76 after trading higher in premarket.

Goldman reported quarterly profit doubled as the bank made more money trading bonds before an interest-rate spike hit markets in June. On Monday, Citigroup's strong earnings helped push the S&P 500 to its longest winning streak since mid-January.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 6.01 points, or 0.04 percent, at 15,478.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 1.44 points, or 0.09 percent, at 1,681.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.01 points, or 0.03 percent, at 3,606.48.

"I continue to watch the late-May high of 1,687 on the S&P 500 Index," said Bryan Sapp, senior trading analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"Above there, I'm looking for 1,700 to be the next area for a pause."

On Tuesday, data showed consumer prices rose more than expected in June as gasoline prices jumped, but underlying inflation pressure remained benign, pointing to lukewarm domestic demand.

U.S. homebuilder confidence rose in July to its strongest level in 7-1/2 years as tightening supply and solid demand even in the face of rising mortgage rates fueled the sector's recovery.

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