* Energy companies push stocks higher
* Norfolk Southern gives weak outlook, shares fall
* Expectations low as earnings season picks up
* Dow up 0.44 pct, S&P up 0.16, Nasdaq down 0.31 pct (Updates to afternoon trading)
By Noel Randewich
NEW YORK, April 14 (Reuters) - The Dow and S&P 500 moved higher on Tuesday, helped by energy stocks and March-quarter earnings reports that topped modest expectations but did little to reduce concerns about the strong dollar.
Shares of Exxon Mobil, Chevron and other energy companies followed crude higher after a forecast that U.S. shale oil output in May would record its first monthly decline in more than four years. The S&P 500 energy index jumped 1.95 percent.
Johnson & Johnson cut its full-year forecast, citing the impact of a strong dollar, though adjusted earnings topped expectations. Shares of the Dow component were up 0.29 percent.
Norfolk Southern Corp was the biggest decliner on the S&P 500, dropping 5.6 percent to $98.95 a day after it forecast a surprise drop in its first-quarter earnings and revenue.
Weak outlooks as companies head into March-quarter reporting season offset positive results from JPMorgan Chase & Co, whose stock rose 1.3 percent to $62.86.
“Expectations are low, primarily because of economic weakness during the first quarter related to weather, the strong dollar, the West Coast dock strike and oil prices,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.
At 1:02 p.m. the Dow Jones industrial average rose 78.46 points, or 0.44 percent, to 18,055.5, the S&P 500 gained 3.42 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,095.85. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 15.63 points, or 0.31 percent, to 4,972.62, with Apple down 0.29 percent.
Chevron’s shares gained 1.97 percent and Exxon rose 2.22 percent.
First-quarter profits for S&P 500 companies are seen falling 2.9 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. On Jan. 1, analysts had been looking for growth of 5.3 percent. The drop in expectations could mean that companies can more easily top a lowered bar, but the trend of the season remains unclear with fewer than 10 percent of the S&P having reported.
Nokia Oyj is in talks to buy Alcatel-Lucent SA , a deal that would combine the telecommunications industry’s two weakest players but could pose challenges in cutting costs and overcoming political opposition.
U.S. shares of Nokia fell 4.21 percent to $7.95 while Alcatel rose 12.18 percent to $4.88.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,842 to 1,099, for a 1.68-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,404 issues fell and 1,211 advanced, for a 1.16-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The S&P 500 was posting 3 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 57 new highs and 22 new lows. (Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Nick Zieminski)