US STOCKS-Wall St edges higher, extending rally

Last Updated: Tue, May 07, 2013 13:40 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 0.2 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.1 pct

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, May 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Tuesday as the positive tone in markets continued but investors found little reason to push shares decisively higher after the S&P 500 hit another record close.

The S&P has risen for three straight days, extending its rise for the year to more than 13 percent, eclipsing all the gains made in 2012.

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. Last week's jobs report was unexpectedly strong, helping to fuel market gains.

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

"The payroll report indicated that things are better than we were thinking in terms of growth, so until the market finds proof otherwise against the recovery, stocks will continue to move generally higher," said Andres Garcia-Amaya, global market strategist with J.P. Morgan Funds in New York.

"There are still things to be concerned about, but stocks remain cheap and the biggest risk is to try and time a correction rather than follow the trend."

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 22.12 points, or 0.15 percent, at 14,991.01. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 3.01 points, or 0.19 percent, at 1,620.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3.37 points, or 0.10 percent, at 3,396.34.

In the latest earnings, both Fossil Inc and DirecTV reported earnings that surged past expectations. Fossil jumped 9.5 percent to $107.49 as the S&P 500's top percentage gainer, followed by DirecTV, up 5.5 percent to $61.17.

On the downside, Emerson Electric Co reported second-quarter sales that were slightly below expectations and cut its full-year outlook. Shares fell 1.5 percent to $56.43.

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

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 Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets in New York.

Overseas, European shares rose 0.4 percent on positive earnings and expectations that central banks would continue to stimulate the economy.

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