* S&P 500 hovers around 1,500; investors seek catalysts
* Ford tumbles after comments on European section
* Seagate and BMC weight on Nasdaq after outlooks
* Indexes: Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P down 0.1 pct, Nasdaq down 0.6
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Jan 29 U.S. stocks were flat on
Tuesday as investors looked for new reasons in economic data or
earnings to extend a rally that pushed major averages near
Equities have been on a tear lately, with the S&P 500
recently climbing for eight straight sessions, extending its
rise in January to 5.1 percent. The index hovered around 1,500,
suggesting there was still support for a market that has been
hovering around five-year highs.
"A move like this in one month is extraordinary, and keeping
the gains going will depend on concrete news like earnings and
data that show the economy is getting better," said Peter Tuz,
president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville,
Virginia. "We haven't seen enough of that to make people jump in
after the rally we've had."
The gains have largely come on a strong start to earnings
season, though results were mixed on Tuesday with Pfizer Inc
rising but Ford Motor Co dropping after its
Both companies reported profits that topped expectations,
but Ford also forecast a wider loss in its European segment.
Shares dropped 3.6 percent to $13.32 as one of the biggest
percentage losers on the S&P 500.
Pfizer, a Dow component, rose 1.2 percent to $27.16 after
its results while Eli Lilly and Co rose 1.2 percent to
$53.25 after reporting adjusted fourth-quarter earnings and
revenue that beat expectations.
In economic news, stocks retreated slightly after data
showed U.S. consumer confidence dropped to its lowest level in
more than a year in January. Americans were more pessimistic
about the economic outlook and their financial prospects,
according to the Conference Board.
In addition, home prices rose 0.6 percent in November, as
expected, according to the S&P Case/Shiller Home Price Index.
The news comes a day after data showed an unexpected drop in
December pending home sales.
Thomson Reuters data showed that of the 150 companies in the
S&P 500 that have reported earnings so far, 67.3 percent have
beaten analysts' expectations, which is a higher proportion than
over the past four quarters and above the average since 1994.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 13.40 points,
or 0.10 percent, at 13,895.33. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was down 1.01 points, or 0.07 percent, at 1,499.17. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 18.21 points, or 0.58
percent, at 3,136.09.
The Nasdaq was pressured by a pair of disappointing tech
outlooks. Seagate Technology Plc forecast third-quarter
revenue below expectations while BMC Software Inc gave a
2013 profit view that was below forecasts.
Seagate shares slumped 8.7 percent to $34.10 while BMC fell
7.8 percent to $41.
On the upside in technology, Yahoo Inc rose 1.2
percent to $20.55 a day after forecasting a rise in annual
The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee is due to hold
two days of meetings on interest rates beginning on Tuesday.
In a sign of an improved view towards equities, investors
poured $55 billion in new cash into stock mutual funds and
exchange-traded funds in January, the biggest monthly inflow on
record, research provider TrimTabs Investment Research said.