* Home Depot raises outlook, shares jump
* Goldman Sachs sees S&P 500 at 1,750 by year-end
* JPMorgan shares hit highest since February 2001
* Dow flat, S&P off 0.1 pct, Nasdaq down 0.2 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, May 21 U.S. stocks were little changed
in early trading on Tuesday with Home Depot at a record high and
buoying the blue-chips while investors eyed congressional
testimony from Fed chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday.
The housing market recovery helped Home Depot report
higher quarterly sales and earnings, prompting the world's
largest home improvement chain to boost its sales outlook for
the year. Its shares rose 2.3 percent to $78.53 after hitting a
record of $79.40.
Housing will continue to be a tailwind for stocks and an
engine for economic growth in the foreseeable future according
to Jack De Gan, chief investment officer at Harbor Advisory Corp
in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The U.S. economic calendar is thin and the market will
continue to be vulnerable with the S&P and Dow industrials near
record highs. However, the expectation of continuing
accommodative monetary policy from the Federal Reserve should
continue to lend support to equities.
"There's not strong enough evidence one way or another to
change monetary policy," De Gan said, adding that with all the
support the Fed has given to equities there are also
"fundamental reasons" driving the market.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 7.27 points or
0.05 percent, to 15,328.01, the S&P 500 lost 3.27 points
or 0.2 percent, to 1,663.02 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 8.6 points or 0.25 percent, to 3,487.84.
The small- and mid-cap Russell 2000 continued to face
technical resistance at the 1,000 point level but was within two
pints of its all time closing high.
Goldman Sachs said in a note to clients dated May 20 that it
sees the S&P 500 at 1,750 by the end of the year, a 5 percent
advance from Monday's close, and expects a 12-month rally to
1,825. The bank's economists forecast above-trend U.S. gross
domestic product growth in 2014, for the first time in six
Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co rose 1 percent to
$52.86 as a proposal to strip chief executive Jamie Dimon of his
chairman title appeared to be defeated according to a
preliminary tally reported by The New York Times.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook is expected to
testify before Congress later on Tuesday after a U.S. Senate
report on the company's offshore tax structure said the iPhone
maker has kept billions of dollars in profits in Irish
subsidiaries to pay little or no taxes to any government. Apple
shares fell 1.7 percent to $435.44.
Medical device maker Medtronic Inc reported a
better-than-expected quarterly profit driven by strong
international sales and its shares rose 6.3 percent to $53.05
after hitting $53.83, its highest since September 2008.
Carnival Corporation & Plc slashed its
full-year earnings outlook for the second time in less than
three months as it expects lower revenue due to the lower ticket
pricing it is employing to attract passengers following a string
of high-profile mishaps. Its U.S. shares dropped 6.2 percent to
Best Buy shares fell 3.9 percent to $25.77 after the
world's largest consumer electronics chain reported
weaker-than-expected quarterly sales and warned that investments
to win back shoppers could squeeze profits in the near term.