US STOCKS-Futures flat, Caterpillar on tap to report

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 28, 2013 12:00 hrs

* Caterpillar to report, could give clue into industrials

* Monday's session follows 8 straight days of S&P 500 gains

* Bargain hunters may look at Apple following recent drop

* Durable goods, pending home sales data on tap

* Futures up: Dow 7 pts, S&P 0.8 pt, Nasdaq 0.2 pt

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Jan 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Monday, with investors reluctant to make big bets following a rally that took the S&P 500 above 1,500 for the first time in more than five years.

* A strong start to the earnings season has boosted equities, with major averages rising for four straight weeks. The S&P has gained for eight straight days, its longest winning streak in eight years.

* Over the past four weeks, the S&P has jumped 7.2 percent, suggesting markets may be vulnerable to a pullback if news disappoints.

* Earnings will continue to be a primary focus, with Caterpillar Inc likely to be a market mover when it reports its latest quarterly financial results later on Monday. The heavy machinery maker could provide a clue into the state of the global industrial sector, which is closely tied to the pace of economic growth.

* Yahoo Inc reports after the closing bell, and could face heightened expectations following strong results at Google Inc last week.

* Thomson Reuters data through Friday showed that of the 147 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 68 percent exceeded expectations. Since 1994, 62 percent of companies have topped expectations, while the average over the past four quarters stands at 65 percent.

* S&P 500 futures rose 0.8 point and but were slightly below above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 7 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.2 point.

* The S&P 500 closed at its highest since Dec. 10, 2007, and the Dow ended at its highest since Oct. 31, 2007.

* Investors will also be looking to durable goods orders and pending home sales, both for December. Durable goods are due at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT) and are seen rising 1.8 percent. Pending home sales are seen rising 0.3 percent.

* Last week, sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell in December but rose in 2012 to the highest level since 2009, a sign the U.S. housing market turned a corner last year.

* Bargain hunters may look to Apple Inc for a bargain the first session after the tech giant lost its coveted title as the largest U.S. company by market capitalization to Exxon Mobil Corp. On Friday, Apple's market cap fell to $413 billion, down roughly $250 billion from its September peak. Apple's fall is about equal to the entire value of Google Inc .

* U.S. stocks rose on Friday, lifted by strong results from such companies as Procter & Gamble. The rise put the S&P 500 about 4.1 percent away from its all-time closing high of 1,565.15 on Oct. 9, 2007.

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