* April retail sales dampen hopes of Q2 growth rebound
* DuPont falls after winning proxy battle
* Tech stocks rise, utilities fall
* Indexes up: Dow 0.02 pct, S&P 0.04 pct, Nasdaq 0.19 pct (Updates to late afternoon)
By Sinead Carew
May 13 (Reuters) - Wall Street was little changed in afternoon trading on Wednesday as investors stood on the sidelines waiting for the next round of economic data at the tail end of earnings season.
U.S. retail sales were unchanged in April as households cut back on purchases of cars and other big-ticket items and import prices fell for a 10th straight month in April and business inventories barely rose in March.
The data suggested to some investors that the U.S. economy was struggling to rebound strongly enough for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates before September.
“You’re now heading from an earnings-centric market to a macro focused market,” said Andrew Frankel, co-president of Stuart Frankel & Co in New York. “People seem to be in watch mode as they get an understanding of what’s next.”
In particular, investors are waiting for inflation numbers and the next jobs report in coming weeks, said Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors Inc in San Antonio.
The S&P’s information technology index, was the best performer with a 0.47 percent increase.
The S&P utilities index was the worst performer, with a 1.3 percent drop. Duke Energy weighed most on that sector and AES Corp fell 2 percent drop after it priced a secondary share offering.
“It’s a gauge of people’s perspectives as to what the Fed will do next,” said Frankel, adding that utilities are in favor if people think the Fed will stall on interest rate hikes.
At 3:09 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average rose 4.17 points, or 0.02 percent, to 18,072.4, the S&P 500 gained 0.83 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,099.95 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.48 points, or 0.19 percent, to 4,985.67.
DuPont shares fell 6 percent to $69.81 after it won a proxy fight against Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management. The stock was the biggest drag on the Dow Jones industrial average.
Macy’s fell 2.4 percent to $63.78, while Ralph Lauren was down 2.98 percent at $129.22 after they reported results.
Pall Corp rose 4.5 percent to $123.97 after Danaher said it would buy the company in a $13.8 billion deal. Danaher was up 1.2 percent at $87.04.
Shares of pipeline company Williams Partners LP jumped 21.6 percent to $57.64 after Williams Cos said it would buy its affiliate for about $13.8 billion.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,709 to 1,323, for a 1.29-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,448 issues rose and 1,279 fell for a 1.13-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 13 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 61 new highs and 31 new lows. (Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Nick Zieminski)