* Dow, S&P coming off all-time closing highs
* Investors looking for next market catalyst
* Oil rises modestly, Middle East supply in focus
* Futures: Dow down 1 pt, S&P down 0.2 pt, Nasdaq up 2 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, May 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were
little changed on Monday as investors paused following steep
gains in the previous session that took the Dow and S&P 500 to
new closing highs.
The S&P is up more than 13 percent so far this year, lifted
by some strong corporate results and an accommodating monetary
environment from the Federal Reserve. But with those factors
largely priced into the market, many are looking for the next
catalyst to take shares higher from these levels.
"There's such an absence of economic data and news that it
looks like it is going to be a boring day, which is fine after
Friday," said Oliver Pursche, president of Gary Goldberg
Financial Services in Suffern, New York.
"We're flat right now, but markets in general want to go
higher since central bank action is trumping everything."
Many analysts are calling for a correction, which equity
markets have largely avoided so far this year as traders use any
market weakness as an opportunity to add to positions.
A string of generally weak economic data has recently
underlined concerns over the global growth outlook, though
Friday's report on U.S. non-farm payrolls was stronger than
expected and fueled the gains that took the indexes to record
S&P 500 futures dipped 0.8 point and were slightly
under 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 slid 1
point and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 2 points.
Overseas, European shares dipped 0.2 percent as
investors took profits following a rally in the previous week.
Volumes were light as the UK stock market was closed for a
Crude oil rose 0.4 percent while Brent crude
hit a one-month high as an Israeli air strike on a Syrian
military facility refocused attention on Middle East supply
"The strike has revived a lot of potential pressure, but
right now it is a positive that Iran or other countries in the
region didn't make a big stink about it," said Pursche.
"Commodities seem to be back in a trading range."
The first-quarter earnings reporting season is largely
winding down, but Tyson Foods, Frontier Communications
and First Solar are all on tap to report
results on Monday.
Of the 404 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported
earnings so far, 68.3 percent have beaten earnings expectations,
but only 46.3 percent have reported revenue above expectations.
Over the past four quarters, 67 percent of companies beat on
earnings and 52 percent beat revenue estimates.
Warren Buffett, the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway
, said on CNBC the U.S. economy was gradually getting
better, aided by improvements in sectors like homebuilding.
On Friday the S&P closed above 1,600 and the Dow briefly
traded above 15,000 for the first time ever, with a number of
bellwether companies hitting 52-week highs. For the week, the
Dow rose 1.8 percent, the S&P gained 2 percent and the Nasdaq
rose 3 percent in its biggest weekly climb since the first week
of the year.