US STOCKS-Dow, S&P flat ahead of earnings, Google helps Nasdaq

* Investors look to start of earnings season on Monday

* Johnson & Johnson recalls more drugs, shares fall

* Google rises as China renews license

* Dow up 0.04 pct, S&P 500 up 0.1 pct, Nasdaq up 0.3 pct
* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to midday, changes byline)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, July 9 (BestGrowthStock) – The Dow and S&P were little changed
on Friday, following three days of gains as investors looked ahead to
the start of earnings season while Google helped keep the Nasdaq in
modestly positive territory.

Google Inc (Read more about Google Stock Analysis) (GOOG.O: ) added 1.7 percent to $464.37 after Beijing
gave it the green light to continue operating its China search page.
U.S.-listed shares of rival Baidu Inc (BIDU.O: ) fell 2.9 percent to
$70.32. For details, see [ID:nSGE6680F9]

The S&P 500 has risen 4.8 percent this week, on track for the
best week this year. Most of the advance has been driven by the hope
that companies will post strong quarterly results in the upcoming
earnings season, which Alcoa Inc (AA.N: ) unofficially kicks off on
Monday after the bell.

Despite the week’s gains, marked by volatility and low volume,
sentiment remains fragile. Many investors are concerned that the
global economy could experience a double-dip recession. Those fears
have driven the S&P 500 down about 12 percent from its most recent
closing high in late April, and down about 4 percent so far this
year.

“Everyone is anxious to see whether earnings are good enough to
outweigh some of the more significant macroeconomic trends we’re
facing,” said Jordan Posner, senior portfolio manager at Matrix Asset
Advisors in New York.

“Everyone is marking time until we get some numbers.”

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) was up 4.39 points, or
0.04 percent, at 10,143.38. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (.SPX: )
was up 1.22 points, or 0.11 percent, at 1,071.47. The Nasdaq
Composite Index (.IXIC: ) was up 5.79 points, or 0.27 percent, at
2,181.19.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: ) was the biggest drag on the Dow,
falling 1.2 percent to $60.63 a day after it recalled more Tylenol
and other over-the-counter drugs after they were linked to a musty or
moldy odor. The move expands a recall started in January.
[ID:nN08230084]

In deal news, Air Products and Chemicals Inc (APD.N: ) late
Thursday raised its hostile bid for rival Airgas Inc (ARG.N: ) by 5.8
percent to $5.3 billion, but the offer remained slightly below the
company’s current market value. [ID:nN08231796]

Air Products shares rose 0.9 percent to $69.41, while Airgas
stock shot up 1.6 percent to $64.86.

On the economic front, U.S. wholesale sales fell unexpectedly in
May for the first time in more than a year, lifting inventories to
their highest level in 11 months, a government report showed on
Friday. [ID:nN09265120]

Recent U.S. data showing slowing growth in the services and
manufacturing sector, weakness in housing and a stagnating jobs
market has worried investors, although most say it is too early to
call a “double-dip” recession.

Equity funds worldwide suffered more than $11 billion in net
outflows in the first week of July, while money market funds
attracted the biggest inflows in 18 months amid fears of a double-dip
recession, fund tracker EPFR Global said. [ID:nTOE668038]
(Editing by Jan Paschal)

US STOCKS-Dow, S&P flat ahead of earnings, Google helps Nasdaq