* Obama to focus on economy in State of the Union address
* Goodyear profit tops estimates, but tire company cuts
* Coca-Cola shares dip on weaker-than-expected European
* Indexes: Dow up 0.2 pct, S&P up 0.07, Nasdaq off 0.05
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Feb 12 U.S. stocks were little changed
on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 holding near multi-year highs ahead
of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.
The economy will be a major topic of Obama's speech before a
joint session of Congress set for 9 p.m. (0200 GMT Wednesday).
Investors will listen for any clues on a deal with Republicans
to avert automatic spending cuts due to take effect March 1.
The S&P 500 has risen in the past six weeks and is up 6.5
percent so far this year. But gains have been harder to come by
since the benchmark S&P index hit a five-year high on Feb. 1.
The market has to consolidate strong gains at the year's start
while investors search for reasons to drive stocks higher.
"The market itself at this point has got to digest this
six-plus percentage point move ... we are due for that pause,"
said Drew Nordlicht, managing director at HighTower Advisors in
Investors are "looking for more data at this point going
forward to support the thesis that corporate profits will
continue to grow and the economy has turned the corner."
The White House has signaled Obama in his speech will urge
U.S. investment in infrastructure, manufacturing, clean energy
and education. He is also expected to call for comprehensive
trade talks with the European Union.
With earnings season moving to its latter stages, of the 353
companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings, 70.3
percent have exceeded analysts' expectations, above a 62 percent
average since 1994 and 65 percent over the past four quarters
according to Thomson Reuters data through Tuesday morning.
Fourth-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are estimated
to have risen 5.3 percent, according to the data, above a 1.9
percent forecast at the start of the earnings season.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 27.65 points,
or 0.20 percent, to 13,998.89. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
added 1.03 points, or 0.07 percent, to 1,518.04. The
Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 1.60 points, or 0.05
percent, to 3,190.41.
Coca-Cola Co shares fell 1.9 percent to $37.88 and
were the biggest drag on the Dow after the world's largest soft
drink maker reported quarterly revenue slightly below analysts'
estimates, hurt by a weaker-than-expected performance in Europe.
Housing shares climbed, led by a 12.9 percent jump in Masco
Corp to $20.09 after the home improvement product maker
posted fourth-quarter earnings and said it expects new home
construction to show strong growth in 2013. The PHLX housing
sector index gained 2.7 percent.
Avon Products shares surged 16.7 percent to $20.16
after the beauty products company reported a
better-than-expected quarterly profit.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber shares lost 3.1 percent to
$13.48 after it posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit
but cut its 2013 forecast due to weakness in the European
Michael Kors Holdings shares jumped 10.9 percent to
$63.24 after the fashion company handily beat Wall Street's
estimates and raised its full-year outlook.