US STOCKS-Wall St gains on earnings; utilities sag

lunes 4 de agosto de 2014 14:38 GYT

* Berkshire Hathaway shares up after results

* Diamond Offshore weighs on Loews earnings

* Indexes: Dow down 0.2 pct, S&P up 0.4 pct, Nasdaq up 0.5 pct (Updates to mid-afternoon, adds quotes, updates prices)

By Akane Otani

NEW YORK, Aug 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were slightly positive in trading on Monday afternoon, boosted by earnings including Berkshire Hathaway's results, though gains were offset by drops in high-dividend payers in the utilities sector.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc said late Friday second-quarter profit soared 41 percent to a record high due to substantial investment gains and improved results in manufacturing, service and retail businesses. The company's class B shares gained 2.6 percent to $129.08.

Overall annual earnings growth for the second quarter so far has come in at 7.8 percent as reporting season starts to wind down. August tends to be a quieter month, and some investors expect the stock market to be a bit sleepy over the next few weeks.

"The S&P has had a huge run, and it's earned the right to sit for a bit. The key is to make sure selling remains somewhat contained," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York. "We're in a very strong bull market right now."

The S&P 500 fell 2.7 percent last week, its biggest percentage drop since June 2012. Despite the sharp decline, the benchmark's technical picture was still bullish, analysts said.   Continuación...