The S&P 500 was little changed on Friday but on track to finish at four-year highs after upbeat reports on housing and consumer sentiment.
The broad index is up more than 8 percent this year, leading
many analysts to expect a pullback.
A string of upbeat U.S. economic reports has helped the index to inch closer to a key technical level at 1,370, and a break above that level could trigger more buying.
If (the S&P) doesn't break 1,370 we'll be range-bound, said Michael Yoshikami, chief executive and founder at YCMNET Advisors in Walnut Creek, California.
If it does, in all likelihood you'll see the next leg up.
U.S. consumer confidence hit its highest point in a year this month despite a strong rise in gasoline prices, while new home sales fell in January but upward revisions to prior months' sales helped confirm the housing market is in a recovery.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dipped 3.64 points, or 0.03 percent, to 12,981.05. The S&P 500 Index <.INX> gained 2.96 points, or 0.22 percent, to 1,366.42. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> rose 10.13 points, or 0.34 percent, to 2,967.11.
According to Thomson Reuters data through Friday morning, of the 461 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings, 63.3 percent topped expectations. That is below the 70 percent average beat rate in the past four quarters but slightly above the average of 62 percent since 1994.
The Morgan Stanley healthcare payor index <.HMO> gained 1.4 percent with Wellcare Health Plans Inc
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(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Kenneth Barry)