US STOCKS-Wall St flat as investors await earnings

Reuters - UK Focus

* S&P 500 coming off biggest weekly gain since July

* Earnings seen driving trading, dozens of names report thisweek

* Results from Netflix (NasdaqGS: NFLX - news) expected after the market close

* Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P 500 flat, Nasdaq down 0.3 pct (Updates to market open)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK (Frankfurt: HX6.F - news) , April 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were flat onMonday ahead of key earnings releases as investors found fewreasons to push indexes sharply higher following a strong rallylast week.

The S&P 500 posted its best week since July last week,boosted by results from such names as General Electric Co and Morgan Stanley (Berlin: DWD.BE - news) . If the index ends higher, it will bethe fifth straight daily rise for the benchmark.

With fewer than one-fifth of S&P 500 companies havingreported results so far, about 62 percent have topped earningsexpectations, according to Thomson Reuters (Frankfurt: TOC.F - news) data, compared withthe 66 percent average over the past four quarters. About 52percent have beaten revenue forecasts, about even with the 54percent average over the past four quarters.

"There have been some strong results from prominentcompanies, but in general the season has been less thanexciting," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview AssetManagement in Chicago.

"We're still struggling with top-line growth. Investors arelooking at the earnings picture and are not being thrilled,though we're still waiting on a lot of reports this week."

Halliburton Co rose 3.5 percent to $63.05 after theoilfield services company reported earnings that beatexpectations and gave a strong profit outlook. The Philadelphiaoil service index rose 0.6 percent.

SunTrust Banks (NYSE: STI - news) rose 1.7 percent to $38.59 after itsresults, while Hasbro Inc (NasdaqGS: HAS - news) rose 1 percent to $55.15 afterits earnings beat expectations, though revenue was underforecasts.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 8.26 points,or 0.05 percent, at 16,416.80. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 0.63 points, or 0.03 percent, at 1,864.22. TheNasdaq Composite Index was down 10.54 points, or 0.26percent, at 4,084.98.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are coming off four-day winningstreaks, and investors may take profits on any disappointingcorporate news.

Investors are looking ahead to results from Netflix Inc after the market closes. The online movie renter wasrecently a trading favorite, soaring 300 percent last year asthe S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer. The stock, stung byclaims it is overvalued, has slumped recently alongside abroader decline in other high-flying names. Analysts will lookto see whether the results justify its still-elevated price.

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

More than 30 companies in the Nasdaq 100 are slatedto report, according to Nasdaq, a group that together representsmore 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 1.4 percent to $30.68 whileU.S. shares of Astra rose 5.6 percent to $67.03.

Talks between Barrick Gold Corp and Newmont Mining (EUREX: NEMF.EX - news) Corp about a potential merger have hit a snag, but thecompanies remain keen to reach a deal and discussions are likelyto resume, sources told Reuters.

Shares of Newmont rose 6.1 percent to $24.98 as the S&P'sbiggest percentage gainer, while U.S. shares of Barrick fell 2.6percent to $17.51.

(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)

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