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US STOCKS-Wall St flat ahead of Obama speech

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Tue, Feb 12, 2013 15:00 hrs

* Obama to focus on economy in State of the Union address

* Goodyear profit tops estimates, but tire company cuts outlook

* Coca-Cola shares dip; emerging markets sales offset Europe

* Major indexes little changed

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Feb 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Tuesday, hovering near multi-year highs as traders awaited President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

The economy will be one of the main topics of Obama's speech at 9 p.m. (0200 GMT Wednesday). Investors will listen for any clues on a deal with Republicans in Congress to avert automatic spending cuts due to take effect March 1.

The S&P 500 has risen in the past six weeks and is up more than 6 percent so far this year. Despite a dip in volume Monday and the sideways move this week the market is showing technical strength as it digests the recent gains.

"It's positive we haven't seen an urge to take profits after the run-up we had recently," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois.

He said it was natural for the market to be pausing amid a lack of major economic data points and with earnings season winding down, and markets will be attentively watching Obama's speech in Washington.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 7.6 points or 0.05 percent, to 13,978.84, the S&P 500 lost 0.27 points or 0.02 percent, to 1,516.74 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.41 points or 0.04 percent, to 3,190.59.

Coca-Cola Co shares fell 1.5 percent to $38.04 after the world's largest soft drink maker reported quarterly earnings that were slightly better than expected as strength in emerging markets offset a decline in European business.

Avon Products shares jumped 13.4 percent to $19.59 after the beauty products company reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber shares fell 4.6 percent to $13.27 after it posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit but cut its 2013 forecast due to weakness in the European automotive market.

Michael Kors Holdings shares soared 12 percent to $63.82 after the fashion company handily beat Wall Street's estimates and raised its full-year outlook.




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