US STOCKS-Wall St advances; S&P, Nasdaq book fifth straight gain

Reuters - UK Focus

* S&P 500's advance follows biggest weekly gain since July

* Earnings seen driving trading; dozens of names report thisweek

* Netflix (NasdaqGS: NFLX - news) climbs in extended-hours trading after results

* Dow up 0.3 pct; S&P 500 up 0.4 pct; Nasdaq up 0.6 pct (Updates to close, adds Netflix earnings)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Frankfurt: HX6.F - news) , April 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks advanced modestlyon Monday in subdued trading as investors showed hesitation inthe wake of a strong rally last week and before a slew of keyearnings releases this week.

Monday's gain marked the S&P 500's fifth straight climb, itslongest winning streak since October. The S&P 500 wrapped up itsbest week since July last week, boosted by results from suchnames as General Electric Co and Morgan Stanley (Berlin: DWD.BE - news) .

The Nasdaq also scored its fifth straight gain on Monday.

Of the 87 companies in the S&P 500 that had reported resultsthrough Monday morning, 62.1 percent have topped earningsexpectations, according to Thomson Reuters (Frankfurt: TOC.F - news) data, compared withthe 66 percent average over the past four quarters. On therevenue side, 51.7 percent have exceeded forecasts, below the 54percent average over the past four quarters.

S&P 500 companies' first-quarter earnings are projected tohave increased 0.8 percent from a year ago, Thomson Reuters datashowed. The forecast is down sharply from the start of the year,when profit growth was estimated at 6.5 percent.

"We are certainly in a wait-and-see mode for earnings, whichcan be volatile, and therefore a lot of money is just waiting onthe sidelines to see what happens," said Tim Ghriskey, chiefinvestment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.

"Certainly, companies that confirm the rest of the yearguidance, even if they miss the first quarter, it's a good thingbecause there is still a lot of expectation that we are going tosee the economy begin to accelerate and also do some catch-upfrom the weather-impacted first quarter."

Volume was light, with about 4.34 billion shares traded onU.S. exchanges, well below the 6.83 billion average so far thismonth, according to data from BATS Global Markets. Some marketparticipants were away on Monday to observe Passover.

Halliburton Co added 3.3 percent to close at $62.92after the oilfield services company reported earnings that beatexpectations and gave a strong profit outlook. The PHLX oilservice index rose 1 percent.

SunTrust Banks (NYSE: STI - news) gained 1.5 percent to $38.51 afterits results. Toy maker Hasbro Inc (NasdaqGS: HAS - news) rose 1.9 percent to$55.66 after its earnings beat expectations, though revenue wasunder forecasts.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 40.71 points or0.25 percent, to end at 16,449.25. The S&P 500 gained7.04 points or 0.38 percent, to close at 1,871.89. The NasdaqComposite added 26.03 points or 0.64 percent, to finishat 4,121.546.

After the closing bell, Netflix Inc reported higherprofit for the quarter that ended in March, boosted by theaddition of 2.25 million customers to its movie and TV streamingservice in the United States. The stock shot up 6.8 percent to$372 in extended-hours trading. After a jump of 300 percent in2013, Netflix had slumped recently on concerns that the stockmay be overvalued.

Dozens of S&P 500 components will report earnings this week,including such closely watched companies as Apple Inc (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) ,Biogen Idec (NasdaqGS: BIIB - news) and Facebook Inc (NasdaqGS: FB - news) . A number of Dowcomponents, including McDonald's Corp, AT&T Inc (NYSE: T - news) ,Procter & Gamble and Caterpillar Inc (NYSE: CAT - news) , will alsoreport results.

More than 30 companies in the Nasdaq 100 are slatedto report earnings, according to Nasdaq. The Nasdaq 100represents more than half of the index's weight.

In company news, Britain's Sunday Times reported that Pfizer (TLO: PF-U.TI - news)Inc had approached AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN - news) to propose a $101billion takeover, an offer that was rejected. However, Astra'scancer drug pipeline is still considered a draw for Pfizer (NYSE: PFE - news) .Shares of Dow component Pfizer rose 2 percent to $30.86 whileU.S.-listed shares of AstraZeneca jumped 8.8 percent to$69.10.

Talks between Barrick Gold Corp and NewmontMining Corp about a potential merger have hit a snag,but the companies remain keen to reach a deal and discussionsare likely to resume, sources told Reuters.

Newmont's stock rose 6.4 percent to $25.05. It was the S&P500's biggest percentage gainer. Barrick Gold (Berlin: ABR.BE - news) 's U.S.-listedshares fell 3.9 percent to close at $17.28.

Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by1,889 to 1,159, while on the Nasdaq, advancers beat decliners by1,591 to 1,028. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski andJan Paschal)

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