US STOCKS-JPMorgan lifts Wall St, but banks due for pause

* JPMorgan profit fuels optimism about earnings

* Midcap index rises to new intraday high

* Bank stock indices signal possible resistance

* Intel falls despite strong quarter, outlook

* Indexes up: Dow 0.47 pct, S&P 0.63 pct Nasdaq 0.55 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to afternoon, changes byline)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Jan 14 (BestGrowthStock) – Optimism about corporate
earnings, bolstered by JPMorgan, lifted U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) on Friday
and set the S&P 500 on the path for seven straight weeks of
gains.

The S&P Midcap 400 index broke its all-time intraday
record, rising 0.6 percent to 929.58. The index includes
companies ranging from $750 million to $3.3 billion in size.

“On balance, with supporting prices and in spite of mixed
economic data, there is expectation of a strong earnings
season,” said Jim Awad, managing director at Zephyr Management
in New York.

However, banks, which have led the S&P 500’s gains so far
this year, face strong technical resistance as three major
indexes — the KBW bank index (.BKX: ), the S&P financial sector
(.GSPF: ) and the Select Sector SPDR financial ETF (XLF.P: ) —
approach multimonth highs reached last April.

“If we don’t take a break before breaking the April highs,
we’re going to be extended and overbought, so it will be a
dangerous breakout,” said John Schlitz, chief U.S. market
technician at Instinet in New York.

“Are we close to a breakout or resistance? I’d probably
caution towards the latter,” he said.

He said the S&P’s closing in on its seventh week of gains
is a warning sign for declines, which are historically not
uncommon in the second half of January. The last time the
benchmark rose eight or more weeks in a row was a nine-week run
between November 2003 and January 2004.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) gained 55.70
points, or 0.47 percent, to 11,787.60. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) rose 8.05 points, or 0.63 percent, to
1,291.81. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) added 15.11
points, or 0.55 percent, to 2,750.40.

JPMorgan (JPM.N: ) shares added 3.3 percent to $45.93 after
reporting stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Its
stock has risen 8.3 percent so far this year. [ID:nN14293086].

The KBW bank index (.BKX: ) rose 2.5 percent to 54.83, near a
strong resistance area between 57 and 59.

Strength in banking stocks helped offset U.S. government
data that showed December retail sales slightly weaker than
expected. [ID:nN14146780].

In other economic news, higher gasoline prices helped push
December consumer prices up at the fastest pace in a year and a
half, which also weighed on consumer sentiment in early
January, according to a Reuters/University of Michigan survey.

The average gasoline price of $3.09 a gallon is the highest
since October 2008.

Increasing oil prices (CLc1: ) have contributed to a rise in
the S&P energy index (.GSPE: ), which is near an October 2008
high in another sign of an overextended market.

Dow component Intel Corp (INTC.O: ) fell 0.7 percent to
$21.13 a day after it posted a better-than-expected quarterly
profit and forecast strong revenue for the coming quarter.

In the previous two quarters, when the technology
bellwether beat Wall Street estimates, the S&P 500 ended the
sessions in the opposite direction as Intel shares.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; additional reporting by Alina
Selyukh and Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Kenneth Barry)