US STOCKS-S&P 500 edges up after 4-day rally, but P&G weighs

Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:44pm EST

* Procter & Gamble drags on Dow, S&P 500 after outlook

* TripAdvisor rallies after results; Lorillard, Intuit fall

* UBS downgrades to "neutral," shares drop

* Dow off 0.1 pct, S&P 500 up 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.4 pct

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Feb 12 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 rose slightly on Wednesday as a slide in Procter & Gamble's shares kept gains in check after a four-day rally took the benchmark index within striking distance of a record high.

The Standard & Poor's 500 has risen 3.9 percent over the past four sessions, its longest winning streak of the year and best four-day performance in 13 months. The S&P 500 now stands 1.4 percent below its record closing high of 1,848.38 set on Jan. 15.

The advance came after Wall Street's sharpest drop in more than a year, with a selloff triggered by turmoil in emerging markets. Investors were subsequently reassured after Congress agreed to advance legislation extending U.S. borrowing authority and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen held off from making any changes to its schedule for trimming stimulus.

"There isn't a big discount to the market since valuations remain at or approaching fair value, but we don't see it as overly expensive since earnings are growing steadily," said Eric Teal, chief investment officer at First Citizens Bancshares in Raleigh, North Carolina. "We're seeing a better tone in the market after a rough start to the month."

Procter & Gamble Co shares lost 1.7 percent to $77.48, weighing on both the Dow and S&P 500 after the world's largest household products maker cut its sales and earnings outlook for the year, citing the devaluation of currencies in various developing markets.

"Stocks are that are closely tied to consumer spending patterns will see some volatility ahead," said Teal, who helps oversee $3.5 billion in assets.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 11.34 points, or 0.07 percent, at 15,983.43. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 2.20 points, or 0.12 percent, at 1,821.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 15.62 points, or 0.37 percent, at 4,206.67.

In other earnings news, TripAdvisor Inc was the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer, climbing 8.3 percent to $91.19 a day after the travel website company reported revenue that beat expectations.

Owens Corning shares jumped 9.3 percent to $43.43 after the building products maker reported adjusted four-quarter profits that more than tripled, driven by a rebound in the U.S. housing market.

Of 365 companies in the S&P 500 that had reported earnings through Wednesday morning, 67.7 percent have beaten profit expectations, above the long-term average of 63 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. More than 66 percent have beaten revenue forecasts, above the historical average of 61 percent.

Still, there are signs of weakness, with 4.8 companies warning about their first-quarter results for every one with positive guidance, according to Thomson Reuters data. Inc fell 3.4 percent to $349.50 after UBS downgraded the stock of the world's largest online retailer to "neutral," while the shares of both Lorillard Inc and Intuit Inc slumped after their results.

Shares of tobacco company Lorillard fell 6.6 percent to $46.66. The stock of mobile payment company Intuit dropped 3.8 percent to $69.93.

Ford Motor Co shares rose 0.8 percent to $15.08 after the automaker and its Chinese joint ventures reported a 53 percent increase in vehicle sales in China in January.

AMCOL International Corp surged 12.3 percent to $41.24 after the U.S. minerals and materials group agreed to be acquired by France's Imerys for about $1.6 billion, including debt.

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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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