US STOCKS-Wall St ends near flat; retailers fly for a second day

miércoles 26 de febrero de 2014 18:02 GYT

* S&P 500 hits resistance at 2013 year-end mark

* Target and Lowe's rally after results

* January new home sales surge past forecasts

* Dow up 0.1 pct; S&P 500 flat; Nasdaq up 0.1 pct

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks finished flat on Wednesday with investors hesitant to make a big move on the day before comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, though retailers' shares rallied on results for a second day.

Target Corp and Lowe's Cos Inc shares jumped following upbeat earnings and gave the biggest boosts to the S&P 500. An S&P 500 retail index gained more than 1 percent for a second day. After the bell, shares of J.C. Penney Co Inc gained 4 percent to $6.20 following its results.

The S&P 500 once again briefly broke above its 2013 year-end level of 1,848.36, which has served as resistance, but failed to hold above it, analysts said. The index remained down 0.2 percent for the year.

"From a technical perspective, we're battling with the year-to-date break-even mark on the S&P," said Todd Salamone, vice president of research at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio. "It just seems ... there's no firm commitment to drive the S&P back above this particular level."   Continuación...