US STOCKS-Wall St flirts with record high levels as companies report
* S&P 500 Q1 earnings seen down over 7 pct
* Coca-Cola sinks as quarterly sales drop
* VMWare, Discover Financial jump after earnings beat
* Indexes end higher: Dow 0.24 pct, S&P 0.08 pct, Nasdaq 0.16 pct (Updates to close)
By Noel Randewich
April 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street ended less than 2 percent short of a record-high close on Wednesday as a rebound in oil prices added to optimism sparked by a raft of earnings reports.
Driven 15 percent higher since mid-February by a recovery in weak oil prices and helped by a softer dollar, the S&P 500 stood less than 30 points below last May's all-time peak.
Investors fixated on a parade of first-quarter results, including an upbeat report from VMWare and a disappointing scorecard from Coca-Cola.
Weighed down by the energy sector, first-quarter earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to have slumped 7.5 percent on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Continuación...