US STOCKS-Wall St flat as consumer stocks, weak earnings weigh

* Home Depot fall weighs on Dow, S&P

* Sears soars after Amazon deal to sell Kenmore appliances

* Travelers fall after posting drop in profit

* Dow off 0.05 pct, S&P up 0.03 pct, Nasdaq down 0.04 pct
(Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)

By Tanya Agrawal

July 20 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks traded little changed in
late morning session on Thursday, struggling to hold on to the
record highs on the S&P and the Nasdaq, weighed by a drop in
consumer discretionary stocks and disappointing earnings by some
big names.

Home Depot fell 4.1 percent, shaving off 45 points
off the Dow and weighing the most on the S&P 500.

Sears soared 20 percent after the retailer said it
would sell its Kenmore home appliances on Amazon.com
and integrate the brand’s smart gadgets with the online giant’s
Alexa digital assistant.

The news, however, dragged down the shares of fellow
retailer Best Buy by 4 percent.

Cigarette maker Philip Morris was down 2.8 percent
after its quarterly profit missed expectations and was among the
top drags on the S&P.

Qualcomm fell 4.7 percent after the chipmaker’s
forecast missed estimates.

Still, overall earnings continue to beat expectations which,
along with a rally in technology shares, helped all three major
indexes to close at a record high on Wednesday.

Analysts are estimating an 8.7 percent rise in
second-quarter earnings and a 4.6 percent increase in revenue
for the S&P 500 companies from a year earlier, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Visa, Microsoft and eBay are due to
report results after the closing bell.

“Earnings are going to surprise to the upside and so far
it’s been good,” said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist
for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company.

“I think the one thing that’s changed is now we’re getting
revenue growth because in many cases the world is doing better.
That’s the big change to the economy over the past year and
that’s what will keep the fire burning in the future.”

At 10:58 a.m. ET (1458 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was down 11.64 points, or 0.05 percent, at
21,629.11, the S&P 500 was up 0.92 points, or 0.03
percent, at 2,474.75.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 2.66 points, or 0.04
percent, at 6,382.38.

Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the
telecommunications index’s 0.60 percent rise leading
the advancers.

Economic data showed weekly jobless claims fell to a
five-month low. Claims fell to 233,000, below the 245,000
expected by economists polled by Reuters.

Abbott Laboratories rose 1.9 percent after the
healthcare company raised its full-year profit forecast.

Property and casualty insurer Travelers was down 2.2
percent after reporting a drop in quarterly profit.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,472
to 1,231. On the Nasdaq, 1,337 issues rose and 1,271 fell.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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