* S&P 500 coming off biggest weekly gain since July
* Earnings seen driving trading, dozens of names report this
* Results from Netflix expected after the market close
* Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P 500 flat, Nasdaq down 0.3 pct
(Updates to market open)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, April 21 U.S. stocks were flat on
Monday ahead of key earnings releases as investors found few
reasons to push indexes sharply higher following a strong rally
The S&P 500 posted its best week since July last week,
boosted by results from such names as General Electric Co
and Morgan Stanley. If the index ends higher, it will be
the fifth straight daily rise for the benchmark.
With fewer than one-fifth of S&P 500 companies having
reported results so far, about 62 percent have topped earnings
expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, compared with
the 66 percent average over the past four quarters. About 52
percent have beaten revenue forecasts, about even with the 54
percent average over the past four quarters.
"There have been some strong results from prominent
companies, but in general the season has been less than
exciting," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset
Management in Chicago.
"We're still struggling with top-line growth. Investors are
looking at the earnings picture and are not being thrilled,
though we're still waiting on a lot of reports this week."
Halliburton Co rose 3.5 percent to $63.05 after the
oilfield services company reported earnings that beat
expectations and gave a strong profit outlook. The Philadelphia
oil service index rose 0.6 percent.
SunTrust Banks rose 1.7 percent to $38.59 after its
results, while Hasbro Inc rose 1 percent to $55.15 after
its earnings beat expectations, though revenue was under
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 8.26 points,
or 0.05 percent, at 16,416.80. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was down 0.63 points, or 0.03 percent, at 1,864.22. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 10.54 points, or 0.26
percent, at 4,084.98.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are coming off four-day winning
streaks, and investors may take profits on any disappointing
Investors are looking ahead to results from Netflix Inc
after the market closes. The online movie renter was
recently a trading favorite, soaring 300 percent last year as
the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer. The stock, stung by
claims it is overvalued, has slumped recently alongside a
broader decline in other high-flying names. Analysts will look
to see whether the results justify its still-elevated price.
Dozens of S&P components will report this week, including
such closely watched names as Apple Inc, Biogen Idec
and Facebook Inc. A number of Dow components,
including McDonald's Corp, AT&T Inc, Procter &
Gamble and Caterpillar Inc, also report.
More than 30 companies in the Nasdaq 100 are slated
to report, according to Nasdaq, a group that together represents
more than half of the index's weight.
In company news, Britain's Sunday Times reported that Pfizer
Inc had approached AstraZeneca to propose a $101
billion takeover, an offer that was rejected. However, Astra's
cancer drug pipeline is still considered a draw for Pfizer.
Shares of Dow component Pfizer rose 1.4 percent to $30.68 while
U.S. shares of Astra rose 5.6 percent to $67.03.
Talks between Barrick Gold Corp and Newmont Mining
Corp about a potential merger have hit a snag, but the
companies remain keen to reach a deal and discussions are likely
to resume, sources told Reuters.
Shares of Newmont rose 6.1 percent to $24.98 as the S&P's
biggest percentage gainer, while U.S. shares of Barrick fell 2.6
percent to $17.51.
(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)