US STOCKS-Wall St holds steady as investors await big earnings

* BlackRock falls after quarterly results miss estimates

* Netflix to report results after market close

* Microsoft, Goldman, Johnson & Johnson results awaited

* Indexes up: Dow 0.02 pct, S&P 0.08 pct, Nasdaq 0.09 pct
(Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)

By Tanya Agrawal

July 17 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were little changed and
hovered near record levels in late morning trading on Monday as
investors geared up for a busy earnings week from big U.S.
companies.

Analysts estimate second-quarter earnings for the S&P 500
companies rose 8.2 percent from a year earlier. First-quarter
earnings posted their best performance since 2011, according to
Thomson Reuters data.

Microsoft, IBM and Johnson and Johnson
are scheduled to report results this week. Netflix
will report results after the market close on Monday.

Earnings will be closely watched to see if high valuations
are justified in the face of tepid inflation and a recent patch
of mixed economic data.

The S&P 500 has been trading at about 18 times earnings
estimates for the next 12 months, compared with the long-term
average of 15 times.

“After new highs that we saw last week, the market deserves
a rest as investors await big earnings this week,” said Dave
Donabedian, chief investment officer of Atlantic Trust.

“Our view is that right now the equity market is a
one-legged stool that’s driven by earnings and we’re pretty
optimistic about earnings but if that should falter, the market
will falter.”

At 10:56 a.m. ET (1456 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was up 3.73 points, or 0.02 percent, at
21,641.47, the S&P 500 was up 1.97 points, or 0.08
percent, at 2,461.24.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 5.37 points, or 0.09
percent, at 6,317.83.

Apple’s 0.8 percent rise was the biggest boost on
all three major indexes.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the
consumer discretionary index’s 0.36 percent rise
leading the advancers.

The financial sector led the laggards with a 0.15
percent fall after results and forecasts on Friday by big banks
such as JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo
failed to excite investors.

Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman
Sachs will report results later this week.

The Dow and the S&P hit record highs on Friday after weak
economic data dulled prospects of more interest rate hikes this
year.

Shares of BlackRock fell 3.2 percent after the
world’s biggest asset manager’s quarterly profit came in below
expectations.

General Cable jumped 10 percent after the cable
manufacturer announced on Sunday a review of strategic
alternatives that could include a potential sale of the company.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,702
to 1,020. On the Nasdaq, 1,447 issues rose and 1,187 fell.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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