US STOCKS-Market pauses before start of earnings news

* Cisco jumps after CEO memo hints at new direction

* Profits could lift S&P to 1,385 by May–strategist

* German industrial orders advance far beyond expectations

* Dow up 0.2 pct, S&P off 0.1 pct, Nasdaq off 0.02 pct

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

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, April 6 (Reuters) – The S&P 500 paused near a
seven-week high on low volume on Wednesday before the start of
earnings reports next week, which investors hoped would provide
the catalyst for stocks to advance.

Signs of a strengthening economy plus merger and
acquisition activity have pushed the S&P 500 close to 1,344,
the highest level since June 2008. A meaningful breach of that
level could lead to a stocks breakout, pushing prices higher.

The market is “basically poised and waiting to see if these
(earnings ) numbers will support the upside,” said Marc Pado,
U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. in San
Francisco. “It’s a consolidation

Pado said that earnings could push the S&P 500 to 1,385 by
early May.

Stocks got another lift from the president of the Atlanta
Fed, Dennis Lockhart, who said the Fed will complete its $600
billion bond-buying plan as scheduled at the end of June. He
said he does not see any reason to end the program early.

The Dow industrials hit their highest intraday level since
2008 but gains were capped in what was set to be another low
volume day.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 18.73
points, or 0.15 percent, to 12,412.63. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research) dropped 0.12 points, or 0.01 percent, to
1,332.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 0.57 points,
or 0.02 percent, to 2,790.62.

The Dow was supported by Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O: Quote, Profile, Research), which
rose 4.3 percent to $17.95 the day after chief executive John
Chambers suggested that the networking giant might change
operations. For details, see [ID:nN05136493].

The percentage of U.S. stock market bulls rose to the
highest level in nearly four months as equities continue to
recover from their recent fall, according to a weekly survey of
advisers by Investors Intelligence.

Bullish advisers rose to 57.3 percent in the latest week,
compared with 51.6 percent in the previous week and a recent
low of 50.6 percent just before that. The reading was the
highest since the middle of December, when it hit 58.8

Broadcom Corp (BRCM.O: Quote, Profile, Research) shares gained 3.1 percent to $39.62
after Oppenheimer raised its rating on the chipmaker’s stock
and set a price target of $55. [ID:nL3E7F61DU].

In earnings news, global agribusiness Monsanto Co. (MON.N: Quote, Profile, Research)
said net income jumped about 15 percent in the second quarter
on strong sales of corn seed for spring planting and improved
profit margins.

But its stock fell 4.5 percent to $70 after the world’s
largest seed company did not raise its full-year outlook.

Purchases of major items sent German industrial orders
soaring above expectations in February, data showed on
Wednesday, in a further sign Europe’s largest economy was
outshining its neighbors. [ID:nLDE7350XH]
(Reporting by Ed Krudy; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Market pauses before start of earnings news