November 3, 2015 / 4:36 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-S&P, Nasdaq flat; Dow edges up on energy stocks, Visa

* S&P energy sector up 1.9 pct; Chevron, Exxon lead

* Visa rebounds after Monday’s drop, props up Dow

* AIG, Kellogg report lower-than-expected results

* King Digital jumps after Activision’s buyout offer

* Dow up 0.37 pct, S&P up 0.21 pct, Nasdaq down 0.07 pct (Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)

By Abhiram Nandakumar

Nov 3 (Reuters) - A rally in energy stocks and a rebound in Visa helped the Dow inch higher on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were little changed, with gains offset by a decline in healthcare and consumer shares.

Six of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, with the consumer staples sector down 0.96 percent and the healthcare sector down 0.58 percent.

“We’re off a little bit this morning, but I think it’s more just people not knowing where to go,” said Michael Bapis, managing director and partner at Hightower’s the Bapis Group.

A rally in healthcare and energy stocks on Monday had pushed the Nasdaq 100 to a 15-year high. All S&P sectors finished higher.

The energy sector rose 1.87 percent on Tuesday, as oil prices recovered, putting the sector on track for its best five-day run in nearly a month.

Exxon was up 1.9 percent and Chevron 3 percent, two of the three biggest boosts to the Dow and the S&P.

Visa was the third. The stock rose 3.5 percent to $77.84, after a 3 percent drop on Monday when it said it would buy Visa Europe.

At 10:56 a.m. ET (1556 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 65.57 points, or 0.37 percent, at 17,894.33.

The S&P 500 was up 0.21 points, or 0.01 percent, at 2,104.26 and the Nasdaq Composite index was down 3.46 points, or 0.07 percent, at 5,123.68.

Bapis said the two key influences on the market this week would be Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday and the monthly jobs report on Friday.

“I don’t think there’s really any big momentum one way or the other with the earnings.”

A majority of the S&P 500 companies have reported strong results. Their profit is now expected to have dipped 0.9 percent in the third quarter, compared with the 4.9 percent drop forecast before the earnings season began, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Of the 352 S&P 500 companies that have reported results so far, 71 percent have beaten profit estimates, compared with 63 percent in a typical quarter.

AIG’s shares fell 4.5 percent to $60.90 after the insurer’s quarterly profit missed estimates by a wide margin. CEO Peter Hancock said breaking up the insurer, as proposed by Carl Icahn, does not “make financial sense”.

Agribusiness Archer Daniels Midland dropped 8.8 percent to $42.20 after missing profit estimates. Altria fell 4 percent to $57.98 after a rating cut. The two weighed the most on the consumer staples sector.

Kellogg slipped 4.3 percent to $67.55, while Sprint declined nearly 5.4 percent to $4.59, after both companies’ quarterly sales missed estimates.

King Digital soared 14.1 percent to $17.72 after Activision Blizzard agreed to buy the “Candy Crush” games maker for $5.9 billion. Activision was down 1.1 percent.

Fitbit dropped 7.4 percent to $37.77 after the wearable fitness device maker agreed to lift lockup restrictions on over 2 million shares more than month before scheduled and announced a 21 million share offering.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,510 to 1,398. On the Nasdaq, 1,324 issues rose and 1,251 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 10 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 40 new highs and 11 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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