US STOCKS-Market flat; eyes on options expiry

* Options expiration dominates market action

* CVS, Walgreen rally after reimbursements deal

* Dow up 0.1 pct; S&P up 0.04 pct; Nasdaq down 0.09 pct

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

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, June 18 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) were little
changed on Friday as energy shares gained modestly and
investors took a breather from the financial crisis in Europe.

Traders also were positioning themselves for options
expiration.

Energy shares helped support the Dow and S&P 500, with
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: ) up 1 percent at $63.22. U.S. crude
rose slightly to $76.83 a barrel.

BP Plc’s (BP.L: )(BP.N: ) New York-traded shares rose 0.3
percent to $31.80 after its chief executive survived a bruising
appearance before a U.S. congressional committee and on hopes
its $20 billion oil spill compensation and clean-up fund will
cap public anger. For details, see [ID:nN1797154]

“A lot of investors did get very bearish here, and that’s a
good sign that we had some selling. That has probably exhausted itself, so the pressures are ebbing,” said Steve Goldman,
market strategist, Weeden & Co. in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The S&P 500 is now down about 8 percent since the April 23
closing high for the year but had been down well over 10
percent largely because of worries over sovereign debt problems
in Europe.

Traders said more volatility could be seen from the
convergence of four key expirations, known as quadruple
witching. Stock options expire later Friday, while index
futures expired earlier in the session.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) was up 12.35
points, or 0.12 percent, at 10,446.52. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) was up 0.41 point, or 0.04 percent, at
1,116.45. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) was down 2.17
points, or 0.09 percent, at 2,304.99.

The futures and options expirations were “going to be
driving most of the flows at the moment … especially given
the fact we have a relatively quiet session, with much of
Europe paying attention to the World Cup, and the U.S. this
morning paying attention,” said David Lutz, managing director
at Stifel Nicolaus in Baltimore.

Declining shares included Teva’s U.S.-listed shares
(TEVA.O: ), Bayer (BAYGn.DE: ) said on Thursday Teva’s U.S. unit
admitted in court that some of the information included on
packages of its oral contraceptive, Gianvi, was false and
agreed to correct its labeling. Teva fell 1.8 percent to
$53.26.

CVS Caremark Corp (CVS.N: ) rose 3 percent to $32.79 and
Walgreen Co (WAG.N: ) added 3.6 percent to $30.31 after the
companies patched up their fight over reimbursements for drug
prescriptions, salvaging a relationship worth billions of
dollars. [ID:nN18123438].

The S&P 500 has held above its 200-day moving average since
Tuesday in a bullish signal but has found resistance near
1,121, a key level that marks the halfway point between the
October 2007 historic highs and the lows of March 2009.

Stock Market Report

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Additional reporting by
Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Market flat; eyes on options expiry