* Berkshire Hathaway shares up after results
* Diamond Offshore weighs on Loews earnings
* Indexes: Dow down 0.2 pct, S&P up 0.4 pct, Nasdaq up 0.5
(Updates to mid-afternoon, adds quotes, updates prices)
By Akane Otani
NEW YORK, Aug 4 U.S. stocks were slightly
positive in trading on Monday afternoon, boosted by earnings
including Berkshire Hathaway's results, though gains were offset
by drops in high-dividend payers in the utilities sector.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc
said late Friday second-quarter profit soared 41 percent to a
record high due to substantial investment gains and improved
results in manufacturing, service and retail businesses. The
company's class B shares gained 2.6 percent to $129.08.
Overall annual earnings growth for the second quarter so far
has come in at 7.8 percent as reporting season starts to wind
down. August tends to be a quieter month, and some investors
expect the stock market to be a bit sleepy over the next few
"The S&P has had a huge run, and it's earned the right to
sit for a bit. The key is to make sure selling remains somewhat
contained," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital
in New York. "We're in a very strong bull market right now."
The S&P 500 fell 2.7 percent last week, its biggest
percentage drop since June 2012. Despite the sharp decline, the
benchmark's technical picture was still bullish, analysts said.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 29.41 points,
or 0.18 percent, to 16,522.78, the S&P 500 was up 8.48
points, or 0.44 percent, to 1,933.63, and the Nasdaq Composite
added 21.81 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,374.45.
Markets may retreat over the next few weeks as traders go on
vacation and the Fed continues backing out of its bond-buying
program, Sarhan said.
"The real question becomes, will the Fed be able to
transition and exit from QE3 gracefully?" Sarhan said.
Utilities were the worst performing of the S&P's
10 industry sectors, down 1.2 percent. At its session low on
Monday, the index was down 8.8 percent from its intraday record
high set June 30. For the year, the sector has still gained 8.8
Shares of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals fell 7.4 percent
to $13.21, losing sharp gains from earlier in the day, after a
CNN report suggested another company was first in line to see
its Ebola treatment used to treat an outbreak in Africa.
Pike Corp soared 48.5 percent to $11.82 after
investment firm Court Square Capital Partners and Pike Chief
Executive J. Eric Pike said they would take the company private.
Amgen said a late-stage study found that its blood
cancer drug helped patients live significantly longer without
the disease worsening, compared with standard treatment. Amgen
shares gained 1.7 percent to $127.69.
(Reporting By Akane Otani; Editing by Nick Zieminski)