* 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 pct (Updates to mid-afternoon, adds quotes, updates prices)
By Akane Otani
NEW YORK, Aug 4 (Reuters) - 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 weeks.
“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 percent.
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)