* Dow, S&P near all-time closing highs
* Bank of America, Apple rise; Humana jumps after upgrade
* Indexes: Dow off 0.2 pct, S&P flat, Nasdaq up 0.2 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, May 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed
on Monday, pausing after a rally that pushed the Dow and S&P 500
to record highs last week on improving earnings and reassuring
signs about the economy.
Apple shares were among the top gainers, up 2
percent at $458.65 and giving the biggest boosts to the Nasdaq
composite index and benchmark S&P.
Market watchers said there is more room for stocks to rise
as investors use weakness in the market as an opportunity to add
"There were some negative sentiment heading into earnings
and concerns about the spring slowdown or 'sell in May and go
away,'" said Todd Salamone, director of research at Schaeffer's
Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.
"Also economic numbers were weak. We don't see that now.
We've hit this sweet spot in economic data where numbers are
better-than-expected. But on an absolute basis, they won't make
the Fed unwind their support for stimulus."
Although weak economic data from the euro zone and China has
caused concerns over the global growth outlook, Friday's
stronger-than-expected U.S. payrolls report fueled the gains
that took the indexes to record levels.
Equities have been strong so far this year, with the S&P 500
up more than 13 percent in 2013 on the back of strong corporate
earnings and accommodating monetary policies that have kept
interest rates low.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 26.54
points, or 0.18 percent, at 14,947.42. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 0.46 point, or 0.03 percent, at 1,614.88.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 6.21 points, or 0.18
percent, at 3,384.85.
A number of bellwether names rallied on Monday, with Bank of
America Corp up 2.3 percent to $12.52 and Apple Inc up
1.7 percent to $457.58. Humana Inc jumped 3.4 percent to
$76.45 as the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer. JPMorgan
upgraded the stock to "overweight."
But Johnson & Johnson shares were down more than 1
percent at $84.79, weighing on the blue-chip Dow average.
BMC Software Inc agreed to be acquired by a private
equity group led by Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital Corp
for about $6.9 billion. Shares were up 0.2 percent to $45.50.
Tyson Foods Inc reported a steep drop in its
second-quarter earnings, hurt as customers switched to chicken
from beef to save money. The stock dropped 4.3 percent to
$23.86, the biggest percentage decliner on the S&P 500.
Of the 404 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported
earnings so far, 68.3 percent have beaten earnings expectations,
according to Thomson Reuters data, though 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 said on Monday low interest rates have made
bonds "terrible" investments, but stocks are "reasonably
priced," and he continues to shy away from sectors such as media
where he cannot predict which will thrive in the long run.