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US STOCKS-Wall St rises slightly after Citigroup earnings, data

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Mon, Jul 15, 2013 16:10 hrs

* Empire State manufacturing index up, but retail sales soft

* Citigroup shares climb after earnings

* Leap Wireless shares more than double

* Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P 500 up 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.1 pct

By Alison Griswold

NEW YORK, July 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged up on Monday after hitting record highs in the previous session, as better-than-expected earnings from Citigroup were offset by mixed U.S. economic data.

Shares of Citigroup advanced 0.7 percent to $51.18 after the third-largest U.S. bank by assets reported a 26 percent increase in adjusted quarterly profit. The S&P 500 financial industry sector index was up 0.1 percent.

Leap Wireless International Inc more than doubled after AT&T Inc said on Friday it would buy the company for $1.19 billion and at least two brokerages raised their ratings on Leap's stock. The stock was trading at $16.82 - up 110.8 percent. It was the most active on the Nasdaq.

The broader market's activity was muted with the three major U.S. stock indexes managing only modest gains. The day's economic data sent mixed signals, with growth in New York state manufacturing for July accelerating while June retail sales fell short of expectations and May business inventories barely increased.

"There aren't many sellers in the market, but there's a sense that with earnings coming up, everyone is lined up waiting for the gun to go off," said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at Rockwell Securities in New York.

"Retail sales were disappointing, but Citigroup had good news. But that news was largely expected."

Analysts expect S&P 500 companies' second-quarter earnings to have grown 2.8 percent from a year earlier, with revenue up 1.5 percent, data from Thomson Reuters showed. Cintas Corp is expected to report after the close.

S&P 500 industrial shares rose, as airlines over the weekend expressed confidence in the safety of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner following a fire on one of the jets last week. Boeing gained 3 percent to $104.88.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 9.48 points, or 0.06 percent, at 15,473.78. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 1.80 points, or 0.11 percent, at 1,681.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 4.57 points, or 0.13 percent, at 3,604.65.

Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 ended Friday's session at record closing highs, though the point and percentage gains for the day were slim.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch raised its year-end target for the S&P 500 to 1,750 from 1,600, citing expected earnings growth.

Over the past three weeks, the benchmark S&P 500 has erased losses of nearly 6 percent from the selloff triggered in late May by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, when he first raised the prospect of trimming the Fed's $85 billion in monthly bond purchases. Since then, Bernanke and other Fed officials have reassured investors that the central bank will keep monetary policy loose for some time.

Qualcomm Inc was the biggest drag on the S&P 500. The mobile chipmaker's stock slid 1.5 percent to $61.12 after Lazard Capital Markets cut its rating to "neutral" from "buy."

Alexion Pharmaceuticals fell 4.5 percent to $109.07 on news that it was being eyed for a potential bid by Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG, a transaction that could be the largest healthcare deal of the year.

First Solar Inc was the S&P 500's best performer, jumping 6.1 percent to $50.55.




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