* EMC shares rise after Dell offer
* Energy sector down as crude prices slip
* Lilly sinks after experimental heart drug scrapped
* Indexes: Dow up 0.19 pct, S&P up 0.03 pct, Nasdaq up 0.10 pct (Updates to late afternoon, changes byline)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
Oct 12 (Reuters) - Gains in utility stocks offset a retreat in energy shares on Monday, leaving U.S. stocks near flat as investors remained nervous about third-quarter corporate results.
This week brings results from some top U.S. banks, among others.
A 1.5-percent drop in the energy index was the biggest drag on the S&P 500, with energy companies falling alongside a 5-percent retreat in oil prices. The utility index was up 0.8 percent.
Trading in equities was also affected by the closing of the bond market, banks and the government, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, for the Columbus Day holiday.
Analysts said it may be an upbeat sign that the market was not trading lower after last week’s sharp gains.
“Given how strong last week was, the fact that we haven’t given much back and we’re going to get into the heart of the Q3 earnings season, (suggests) the market has been relatively resilient,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.
“As long as the tone of the guidance isn’t totally negative, I think we have a decent chance of having an OK fourth quarter.”
The S&P 500 last week registered its biggest weekly percentage gain of 2015.
At 3:03 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average rose 31.77 points, or 0.19 percent, to 17,116.26, the S&P 500 gained 0.53 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,015.42 and the Nasdaq Composite added 4.80 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,835.27.
JPMorgan reports on Tuesday, with Goldman Sachs , Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup posting results through the week.
Along with the banks, several Dow 30 components are scheduled to report results this week, including Johnson & Johnson, Intel and General Electric.
S&P 500 earnings are now expected to be down 4.8 percent from a year ago, which would be the worst earning season in six years, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Eli Lilly’s shares fell 7.9 percent to $79.31 - on track for its biggest single-day day decline in seven years - after the drugmaker said it was scrapping an experimental heart drug.
Regeneron was up 4.3 percent and Amgen up 2.5 percent. Both companies recently received FDA approval for cholesterol-reducing drugs.
EMC’s shares were up 1.9 percent after Dell said it would buy the data storage company in a $67 billion deal.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,484 to 1,478, for a 1.00-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,505 issues fell and 1,226 advanced for a 1.23-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and 1 low; the Nasdaq recorded 71 new highs and 26 lows. (Additional reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski)