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US STOCKS-Futures flat, S&P coming off another record close

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Tue, May 07, 2013 12:20 hrs

* S&P 500 coming off three days of gains, record close

* Investors looking for catalysts after rally

* Fossil rallies after results, Emerson cuts outlook

* Indexes up: Dow 30 pts, S&P 2.3 pts, Nasdaq 6 pts

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, May 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Tuesday after the S&P 500 extended its string of record closes in the previous session and has in five months matched all of 2012's gains.

Wall Street has risen more than 13 percent this year, about the same as last year's total advance, but investors were searching for a new reason to keep pushing stocks higher.

The gains so far have come on strong corporate results and accommodative policies from the Federal Reserve, two factors that may now be priced into markets.

Equities have thus far this year gone without a sustained pullback as investors use any market decline to add to positions. Many analysts expect markets to trend higher, but some expect a near-term pullback, citing a lack of positive catalysts and mixed economic data.

"We're in a bit of a retrenchment week. All the recent catalysts have been priced in and markets are at a level they're comfortable with," said Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets in New York. "We'll probably be going sideways for awhile."

Recent U.S. jobs data was much stronger than expected and helped fuel market gains, but uneven reports on manufacturing and recession in the euro zone have pointed to stalling growth.

S&P 500 futures rose 2.3 points and were 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 30 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 6 points.

The S&P 500 has risen for the past three sessions, climbing 2.2 percent over that period. The index also reached an all-time intraday high of 1,619.77 in Monday's session.

Recent gains have come on strength in technology and banking share, two groups that are closely tied to the pace of growth.

"If this rotation into cyclical stocks from defensive ones continues, that will be a very healthy sign for us," said Hogan.

The quarterly corporate earnings season is winding down, but a number of major companies are on tap to report on Tuesday, including Walt Disney Co, Whole Foods Market and Marathon Oil Corp.

Emerson Electric Co early Tuesday reported second-quarter sales that were slightly below expectations and cut its full-year outlook.

Accesory maker Fossil Inc surged 4.1 percent to $103 in premarket trading after reporting first-quarter results that were stronger than expected.

Earnings have largely been positive, with 68.5 percent of S&P 500 companies surpassing estimates so far. At the same time, revenue have been disappointing and second-quarter estimates have fallen as outlooks remain more negative than positive.

Overseas, European shares rose 0.3 percent on positive earnings and expectations that central banks would continue to stimulate the economy.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman late Monday said he plans to sue Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo and Co for violating the terms of a settlement designed to end mortgage servicing abuses. Also on Monday, BofA said it would settle claims with MBIA related to the financial crisis for $1.6 billion, news that lifted shares in both companies on Monday.

Shares of Bank of America edged 0.3 percent higher to $12.92 in premarket trading.

Wall Street closed modestly higher on Monday, with the S&P 500 pushing further above 1,600 as BofA's settlement with MBIA lifted financial shares. A rally at Apple Inc also boosted markets.




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