* April retail sales unchanged from March
* DuPont falls after winning proxy battle
* Tech stocks rise, with Microsoft leading gains
* Indexes up: Dow 0.1 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.3 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal
May 13 (Reuters) - Wall Street was little changed in afternoon trading on Wednesday, paring early gains, as a flurry of deals failed to make up for tepid economic data.
Renewed weakness in the bond market also discouraged buyers.
U.S. retail sales were unchanged in April as households cut back on purchases of cars and other big-ticket items.
Other data showed that import prices fell for a 10th straight month in April and business inventories barely rose in March.
The data suggested that the U.S. economy was struggling to rebound strongly enough for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates before September.
“We are seeing some evidence that the weakness in the first-quarter has spilled over to this quarter, but I‘m not concerned that U.S. consumer spending for the year is at risk,” said Jeremy Zirin, head of investment strategy at UBS Wealth Management in New York.
Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries hit a 9-month high on a fresh bout of selling.
DuPont shares fell 6.7 percent to $69.79 after the company won a proxy fight against Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management. The stock was the biggest drag on the Dow Jones industrial average.
Seven of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors rose, led by the technology index, which was up 0.7 percent.
Microsoft’s 1.2 percent jump provided the biggest boost to the index as Deutsche Bank raised its rating to “buy” from “hold”.
The utilities index fell the most, with both Duke Energy and Exelon down more than 1 percent.
At 13:49 p.m. ET (1749 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 14.26 points, or 0.08 percent, at 18,082.49, the S&P 500 was up 3.19 points, or 0.15 percent, at 2,102.31 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 16.64 points, or 0.33 percent, at 4,992.83.
Macy’s fell 2.1 percent to $63.97, while Ralph Lauren was down 2.6 percent at $129.72 after reporting results.
Pall Corp rose 4.5 percent to $123.99 after Danaher said it would buy the company in a $13.8 billion deal. Danaher was up 2 percent at $87.73.
Shares of pipeline company Williams Partners LP jumped 20.5 percent to $57.12 after Williams Cos said it would buy its affiliate for about $13.8 billion.
“M&A will continue to be strong as companies are more confident about spending excess cash and as debt continues to be cheap,” said Jeff Kravetz, regional investment director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Phoenix, Arizona.
Earnings expected after the close include Shake Shack , J.C. Penney and Cisco.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,854 to 1,152, for a 1.61-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,462 issues rose and 1,222 fell for a 1.20-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The S&P 500 index posted 13 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 56 new highs and 28 new lows. (Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)