* Aeropostale boosts outlook, shares jump
* Coca-Cola up after earnings
* Starwood Hotels to spin-off vacation ownership business
* Indexes up: Dow 0.26 pct, S&P 0.36 pct, Nasdaq 0.52 pct (Adds data, updates to late morning)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Feb 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose modestly on Tuesday on hopes a deal in Greek debt negotiations was drawing closer and on Coca-Cola earnings, but a drop in energy shares served to cap the advance.
A report by MNSI, citing sources, said the European Commission will introduce a compromise proposal in which Greece should ask for a six-month period to discuss with lenders any pending issues and post-bailout plan.
The Commission said there was no formal proposal for resolving Greece’s debt problems, although talks were intensive ahead of a series of meetings of euro zone finance ministers and EU leaders in Brussels.
“The focus right now is Greece but it’s really beyond Greece as well. Greece is certainly the test case here, it is the poorest child,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.
The first drop in oil prices in four sessions weighed on energy stocks, with the S&P energy index down 1.3 percent, easily the worst performing of the 10 major S&P sectors. U.S. crude dropped 3.4 percent to $51.04 and Brent fell 1.8 percent to $57.30 after the International Energy Agency warned of more selloffs in the near term as stockpiles continue to rise.
“We are going to bounce around here until there is some clarity and some stability in the price of oil and economically in the European Union.”
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 45.85 points, or 0.26 percent, to 17,775.06, the S&P 500 gained 7.45 points, or 0.36 percent, to 2,054.19 and the Nasdaq Composite added 24.66 points, or 0.52 percent, to 4,750.67.
Coca-Cola Co shares climbed 3.2 percent to $42.53 to help lift both the Dow and S&P 500. It reported a better-than-expected profit and sales in North America, its biggest market, rose for the first time in four quarters to offset the impact of a strong dollar on its overseas business.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide climbed 8.9 percent to $75.56 after the company posted quarterly results and announced plans to spin off its vacation timeshare business.
Even with some high-profile earnings misses from multinationals, largely as a result of dollar strength, Thomson Reuters data through Tuesday morning showed 72.7 percent of the 341 S&P 500 companies that have reported topped earnings expectations, above the 69 percent beat rate in the past four quarters.
Aeropostale surged 14 percent to $3.01 after the apparel retailer reported better-than-expected holiday sales and boosted its fourth-quarter outlook.
On the economic front, U.S. wholesale inventories barely rose in December, the latest suggestion that fourth-quarter growth could be revised lower.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,718 to 1,193, for a 1.44-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,311 issues fell and 1,261 advanced, for a 1.04-to-1 ratio.
The S&P 500 posted 18 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 28 new highs and 26 new lows.
Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Nick Zieminski