Stocks were little changed on Monday as investors awaited companies' quarterly results to see if earnings would be strong enough to spark further gains in equities.
Optimism over earnings has contributed to recent gains, despite turmoil in oil-producing regions and the disasters in Japan. The S&P 500 index is up 5.8 percent since the start of the year, but light trading volume has prompted questions about the rally's sustainability.
Alcoa slid 1.1 percent to $17.72 after rising earlier. The aluminum maker is seen posting growth in both earnings and revenue. JPMorgan Chase & Co
There's a question of whether companies can meet the fairly optimistic expectations, said John Carey, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management in Boston, which has about $260 billion in assets under management. There's potential for disappointment, but if they come in line or above the market could experience a continued rally.
Carey said he expects earnings to be strong, but there were a lot of odd things that happened during the quarter that could affect results, citing higher prices for raw materials.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 5.03 points, or 0.04 percent, at 12,385.08. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 2.78 points, or 0.21 percent, at 1,325.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 11.99 points, or 0.43 percent, at 2,768.43.
NYSE shares fell 2.1 percent to $37.90 while Nasdaq OMX fell 1.4 percent to $28.04 and ICE was 0.3 percent higher at $120.86.
Also in deal news, Endo Pharmaceuticals Holding Inc
Endo rallied 2,6 percent to $41.92 while American Medical jumped 32 percent to $29.46. Level 3 rose 8.7 percent to $1.57 and Global Crossing surged 55 percent to $23.00.
Biogen Idec Inc
Tenet Healthcare Corp
Shares of Tenet sank 15.5 percent to $6.38 while Community slumped 34 percent to $26.45.
(Editing by Leslie Adler)