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* Energy stocks jump on oil boost, healthcare extends selloff
* Kimberly Clark touches 2-yr high as results beat estimates
* Intuitive Surgical drags on S&P as earnings miss
* Dow off 0.06%, S&P up 0.04%, Nasdaq up 0.06% (Updates prices, changes analyst’s comment)
April 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were trading flat on Monday, as investors were wary of making big bets ahead of a barrage of reports from major companies this week.
Despite upbeat earnings reports so far, the S&P 500 has been trading in a narrow range and was 1.3% below a record high it hit in late September.
“Uncertainty is part of the equation here. We have major earnings coming up and some traders are waiting to see how that goes before making any big moves,” said Everett Millman, precious metals specialist at Gainesville Coins in Lutz, Florida.
Earnings reports from about a third of the S&P 500 companies, including Boeing Co, Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc, this week would help determine if investors should be concerned about the start of an earnings recession or whether back-to-back quarters of negative growth can be avoided.
S&P 500 profits are expected to drop 1.7% year-over-year, according to Refinitiv data, in what could be the first earnings contraction since 2016.
However, more than three-quarter of 82 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have surpassed beaten-down expectations.
The S&P energy index jumped 1.7%, the most among the major S&P sectors, as oil prices surged on the United States’ move to further clampdown on Iranian oil exports, tightening global supplies.
Halliburton Co reversed early gains to trade down 0.5%. The oilfield services provider said a pricing downturn that has plagued the sector was bottoming out and reported modestly higher activity levels in North America in the first quarter.
At 11:38 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 15.12 points, or 0.06%, at 26,544.42, the S&P 500 was up 1.25 points, or 0.04%, at 2,906.28 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 4.87 points, or 0.06%, at 8,002.93.
Healthcare stocks dropped 0.4%, extending its rout from recent weeks.
The biggest decliner was Intuitive Surgical Inc, which fell 7.3%, weighing the most on the S&P 500 after the surgical robotics maker’s quarterly profit missed analysts’ estimates.
Helping the consumer staples index gain 0.3% was consumer products maker Kimberly-Clark Corp, which touched a near two-year high after reporting better-than-expected earnings.
The PHLX Housing index fell 1.1% after data showed U.S. home sales fell more than expected in March, pointing to continued weakness in the housing market.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.58-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.60-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 15 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 24 new highs and 47 new lows. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Arun Koyyur)
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