November 19, 2013 / 3:00 PM / 4 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street drifts amid few market catalysts

* Home Depot shares rise as housing recovery boosts results

* Best Buy swings to a profit, margin concerns pressure shares

* Trina Solar posts profit after string of losses, shares jump

* Dow flat, S&P down 0.1 pct, Nasdaq flat

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Tuesday after the Dow and S&P 500 hit record highs the previous session, with a handful of earnings reports dominating trading amid a lack of broad market catalysts.

Major indexes continue to face resistance at key levels after the Dow traded above 16,000 and the S&P topped 1,800, levels that both were unable to hold at Monday’s close.

Markets are seen trading in a tight range as technical resistance and the lack of bullish news is offset by the continued support to equities from the Federal Reserve’s economic stimulus.

Monetary policy has helped the S&P gain more than 25 percent so far in 2013, which would make it the best year for the index in a decade.

“We’ve had a tremendous run on a year-to-date basis, a pause here would make sense,” said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at the Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank in New York.

Investors will look for any changes in tone from the Fed as Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speaks on current economic conditions and monetary policy at 2:15 p.m. EDT (1915 GMT) and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks on “Communication and Monetary Policy” at 7 p.m. (0000 GMT).

“There’s no real news to propel the market higher but no real options for investors in terms of other places to put their money,” said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 6.55 points or 0.04 percent, to 15,982.57, the S&P 500 lost 1.99 points or 0.11 percent, to 1,789.54 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.572 points or 0.04 percent, to 3,947.494.

A recovery in the U.S. housing market helped Home Depot top profit and sales estimates for the third quarter, prompting the No. 1 home improvement chain to raise its fiscal-year outlook for the third time this year. Shares gained 2 percent to $81.23.

Best Buy reported a quarterly profit, reversing a year-ago loss, boosted by tight cost controls. But there was also concern over pressure on margins during the holiday season and the stock fell 7.3 percent to $40.37. As of Monday’s close, Best Buy was up 268 percent so far this year.

Trina Solar Ltd posted a profit after eight quarters of losses as solar panel prices held steady after a four-year decline and the company cut manufacturing costs, sending its shares up 3 percent $16.69 after gaining more than 10 percent premarket.

Tesla Motors shares reversed a premarket loss to rise 2.9 percent to $125.12. U.S. traffic safety regulators launched an investigation into the luxury electric sports car maker’s Model S sedan after three car fires in six weeks. The stock was down 24 percent this month to Monday’s close.

Campbell Soup fell 6.8 percent to $38.98 after the world’s largest soup maker reported quarterly earnings that missed analysts’ estimates by a wide margin.

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