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

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Mon, Jul 15, 2013 17:30 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 mixed U.S. economic data offset rosy earnings from Citigroup.

Shares of Citigroup advanced 2.3 percent to $52.00 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 0.4 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, which was the most active on the Nasdaq, was trading at $17.12.

The broader market's activity was muted. 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.

"I think people are really waiting to get into the meat of the earnings season," said Douglas DePietro, managing director at Evercore Partners in New York. "We got past the Fed minutes last week, so I think people are really just looking for what companies can deliver."

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.

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 2.9 percent to $104.70.

Utilities outperformed in the S&P 500, with the sector index up 1.1 percent. Companies including FirstEnergy Corp and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc were among the sector's best performers after power grid operators in the U.S. Northeast said they had enough electricity to keep air conditioners running this week through an anticipated heat wave.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 12.71 points, or 0.08 percent, at 15,477.01. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 1.75 points, or 0.10 percent, at 1,681.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 5.10 points, or 0.14 percent, at 3,605.18.

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. The S&P 500 is on pace for its eighth straight advance, which would mark its longest upward move since mid-January.

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 stimulus.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals was the worst performer on the S&P 500, falling 4.1 percent to $109.58. The company is being eyed for a potential bid by Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG.

First Solar Inc was the S&P 500's best performer, jumping 6 percent to $50.51.




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