August 7, 2017 / 7:19 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Dow on track for 9th straight record close

* Technology, consumer stocks lead S&P advancers

* Rockwell Collins rises on report of United Tech bid

* Tyson higher after quarterly results beat estimates

* Oil prices slip on output concerns

* Indexes up: Dow 0.08 pct, S&P 0.12 pct, Nasdaq 0.47 pct (Updates to late afternoon, adds commentary, changes byline)

By Sinead Carew

Aug 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were slightly higher in afternoon trading on Monday, with the Dow on track to close at a record high for the ninth straight session.

While the energy sector was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 due to falling oil prices, this was partly offset by support from consumer stocks such as Wal-Mart Stores.

Investors looked into underperforming sectors, including retail, anticipating a lift from in-store back-to-school shopping, according to Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“What you’re really seeing is very minor sector rotation,” said Meckler. There’s a lot of shopping at this time of year that involves stores and the fickle nature of teenagers. It tends to be more direct shopping than buying over the internet.”

Robust second-quarter earnings have boosted the broader market in recent weeks and a strong July employment report on Friday added to positive sentiment.

“We have strong earnings. That is helping the market,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group.

“I have seen a lot of companies exceeding their revenue growth and we also have better-than-expected global growth, which are the main drivers for equities.”

Analysts, on average, expect S&P 500 earnings to have expanded 12 percent in the second quarter and project earnings up 9.3 percent for the September quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

However, the recent run-up has also sparked concerns about stretched valuations.

The S&P, which is up about 11 percent this year, is trading at 18 times expected earnings, compared to its 10-year average of 14, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 17.52 points, or 0.08 percent, to 22,110.33, the S&P 500 gained 2.98 points, or 0.12 percent, to 2,479.81 and the Nasdaq Composite added 29.60 points, or 0.47 percent, to 6,381.17.

The consumer staples and technology sectors were the S&P’s leading gainers on Monday, followed by the consumer discretionary sector.

In coming days, investors will scrutinize quarterly results from retailers in light of competition from online giant

Wal-Mart shares were up 1 percent, while Dollar Tree and Best Buy saw gains of more than 2 percent.

Tech has been the best performing S&P sector this year as investors look for growth in an otherwise low-growth environment.

The energy index, down 0.9 percent, led the laggards as oil prices edged lower on a rebound in production from Libya’s largest oil field, along with worries about higher output from OPEC and the United States.

Tyson Foods rose 5.4 percent after the No. 1 U.S. meat processor reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and sales.

Shares of United Technologies were down 2.9 percent following a report it had submitted an offer to buy aircraft component manufacturer Rockwell Collins. Rockwell was up 5.6 percent.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway fell 1.4 percent after it reported a second-quarter profit decline.

MyoKardia shares were up 83 percent after hitting a record high on data from a mid-stage study of its heart drug.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.11-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.16-to-1 ratio favored advancers. (Reporting By Sinead Carew; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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