NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday as investors, without any major economic reports to guide them, awaited fresh incentives to trade after rallies took the S&P 500 to five-year highs.
Transportation stocks were among the worst performers, weighed down by a 10 percent drop in CH Robinson Worldwide
The Dow Jones Transportation index <.DJT> shed 0.3 percent after closing at a record high Tuesday for a gain of more than 10 percent in 2013.
The benchmark S&P 500 index has advanced 6 percent this year, climbing to its highest since December 2007. The Dow industrials <.DJI> have risen above 14,000 recently, making it a challenge for investors to push stocks higher in the absence of strong positive catalysts.
"Overall, we believe that the next near-term market dip should provide an opportunity to buy stocks ahead of rallies higher in the coming months, but we are skeptical about the long-term sustainability of these gains due to the maturing age of the bull market," said Ari Wald, equity research analyst at C&Co\PrinceRidge in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 5.28 points, or 0.04 percent, at 13,984.58. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 0.56 point, or 0.04 percent, at 1,511.85. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 1.67 points, or 0.05 percent, at 3,173.25.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq index was supported by Apple Inc
Walt Disney Co
According to Thomson Reuters data through Wednesday morning, of 301 companies in the S&P 500 <.SPX> that have reported earnings, 68.1 percent have exceeded analysts' expectations, above a 62 percent average since 1994 and 65 percent over the past four quarters. In terms of revenue, 65.8 percent of companies have topped forecasts.
Looking ahead, fourth-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to grow 4.7 percent, according to the data, above a 1.9 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season.
The benchmark S&P index rose 1.04 percent Tuesday, its biggest percentage gain since a 2.5-percent advance on January 2 after lawmakers agreed on a temporary delay of the "fiscal cliff."
Ralph Lauren Corp
Time Warner Inc
(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Kenneth Barry)
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