GLOBAL MARKETS-U.S. stocks flat on earnings; dollar firm

Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:34am EDT

* Wall Street rally stalls as investors await more earnings

* Markets subdued as Easter holiday shuts several markets

* Japan logs largest-ever trade deficit; dollar rises vs yen

* Ukraine on the radar in wake of fresh violence (Updates market action, adds quotes, changes dateline)

By Richard Leong

NEW YORK, April 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday as investors found little reason to push up prices after last week's rally, while the dollar reached a two-week high against the yen after Japan posted a record trade deficit.

The S&P 500 index last week posted it biggest weekly rise since July, and investors were awaiting the release of results by other major companies.

Trading volume was lighter-than-usual. Financial markets in European and many Latin American countries remained closed for the Easter holiday.

"Investors are looking at the earnings picture and are not being thrilled, though we're still waiting on a lot of reports this week," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

Online movie rental company Netflix is due to report results after the market close on Monday. Later in the week, Apple Inc, Microsoft, McDonald's and AT&T are also scheduled to report earnings.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 9.69 points, or 0.06 percent, to 16,418.23, the S&P 500 gained 0.75 points, or 0.04 percent, to 1,865.6, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.411 points, or 0.06 percent, to 4,093.105.

Halliburton Co rose 3.3 percent to $62.91after the oilfield services company reported earnings that beat expectations and gave a strong profit outlook. The Philadelphia oil service index rose 0.8 percent.

SunTrust Banks rose 1.9 percent to $38.68 after its results, while Hasbro Inc rose 1 percent to $55.14 after its earnings beat expectations, though revenue was under forecasts.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 45 nations, fell 0.32 point, or 0.08 percent, to 410.73. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.68 point, or 0.14 percent, to 481.2.

In the currency market, the dollar inched up 0.2 percent against the yen, to 102.70 yen, its highest point since April 8, before easing to 102.54 yen in U.S. trading.

Analysts said signs that the U.S. economy had shaken off disruptions caused by harsh winter weather would help the U.S. currency in the longer run.

The yen slid after the data on Japanese trade.

Weak external shipments helped push Japan's trade deficit to a record 13.75 trillion yen ($134.45 billion) for the fiscal year that ended in March, according to Japan's Ministry of Finance.

"The weak trade figures suggested that sooner or later Tokyo may have to resort to bolder monetary policies to keep the economy on the right track," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.

Last week's stock market gains and some encouraging data on domestic jobs and factory activity led some selling in U.S. Treasuries overnight.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield touched 2.845 percent earlier before falling to 2.692 percent in U.S. trading.

U.S. financial markets were closed for Good Friday holiday.

UKRAINE TENSIONS

Support for the safe-haven yen ebbed last week after the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union called for an immediate halt to violence.

However, tensions in Ukraine are expected to underpin the yen in the short term, traders said.

At least three people were killed in a gunfight in the early hours of Sunday near a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russian separatists, shaking an already fragile international accord that was designed to avert a wider conflict.

In commodity markets, gold initially edged higher as the Ukraine tensions sparked some safe-haven buying but fell to a 2-1/2-week low, hurt by sharp outflows from the world's biggest bullion-backed exchange-traded fund and a stronger dollar.

Spot gold fell $6.96, or 0.54 percent, to $1,286.69 an ounce after falling to $1,281.40 earlier, lowest since April 3.

The tensions over Ukraine supported oil.

Brent crude was last up $0.23, or up 0.21 percent, at $109.76 a barrel, retreating from a near a six-week peak of $110.36 set last week. U.S. crude was last up $0.16, or up 0.15 percent, at $104.46 per barrel. (Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica, Chuck Mikolajczak, Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York, and Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo,; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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