* U.S. earnings growth scaled back, keeps traders on
* Department store J.C. Penney tumbles after CEO shake-up
* Alcoa begins earnings season with revenue miss, shares
* Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P, Nasdaq flat
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, April 9 U.S. stocks were flat on
Tuesday as cautious investors waited to see if earnings would
keep the market rally alive, while the choice of chief executive
at J.C. Penney sent the retail chain plunging.
Penney was the largest percentage loser on the S&P
500 as its shares slid more than 11 percent to $14.08 after the
department store's board ousted Chief Executive Ron Johnson and
replaced him with his predecessor.
Though Penney's board may not face serious legal challenges,
shareholders may question whether the move to replace Johnson
with Myron Ullman, who Johnson himself replaced in late 2011, is
good for them.
Major indexes swung between gains and losses as forecasts
for U.S. first-quarter earnings have been scaled back. Profits
are seen rising just 1.5 percent from a year ago quarter,
according to Thomson Reuters data. In January, earnings were
forecast as rising 4.3 percent.
Recent data have shown the economy is growing but at a slow
pace. The March payrolls report showed jobs creation was less
than half of what economists expected.
But analysts said the market had the momentum to push
indexes higher, even with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up
about 12 percent and the S&P 500 up about 10 percent for the
"The economy is still moving in the right direction, just
less speedily than we want to see," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief
economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.
Alcoa Inc, the first Dow component to release
results, reported a higher quarterly profit but
lower-than-expected revenue after the bell on Monday. Shares of
the largest U.S. aluminum producer slipped 0.4 percent to $8.36.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 11.85 points,
or 0.08 percent, at 14,625.33. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 0.42 point, or 0.03 percent, at 1,563.49. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.56 point, or 0.02
percent, at 3,221.70.
Shares of nutritional company Herbalife fell 1.3
percent to $37.85 after the company announced KPMG had resigned
as Herbalife's independent accountant after one of its senior
partners engaged in insider trading in Herbalife stock.
Earlier, the stock was halted from trading after the New
York Times reported KPMG would resign.
Companies, including Microsoft and Nokia
, have stepped up requests to European antitrust
regulators to take action against Google, accusing it
of blocking competition in mobile telephony.
Microsoft shares were the Dow's top percentage gainer, up
2.1 percent at $29.19. U.S.-listed shares of Nokia Corp
rose 1.2 percent to $3.33.