US STOCKS-Markets flat as caution prevails ahead of earnings

* Alcoa falls ahead of reporting results

* Some profit growth may already be priced into stocks

* NYSE Euronext snubs bid from Nasdaq/ICE

* Dow up 0.04 pct, S&P down 0.2 pct, Nasdaq down 0.4 pct

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

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, April 11 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were little
changed on Monday as investors awaited companies’ quarterly
results to see if earnings would be strong enough to spark
further gains in equities.

Alcoa Inc (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research), a Dow component, unofficially launches
the earnings season with the release of results after the
market’s close. While profits for S&P 500 companies are seen
rising 11.4 percent from a year ago, according to Thomson
Reuters data, some have speculated that the growth is already
priced into shares. For details, see [ID:nN07256466]

Optimism over earnings has contributed to recent gains,
despite turmoil in oil-producing regions and the disasters in
Japan. The S&P 500 index is up 5.8 percent since the start of
the year, but light trading volume has prompted questions about
the rally’s sustainability.

Alcoa slid 1.1 percent to $17.72 after rising earlier. The
aluminum maker is seen posting growth in both earnings and
revenue. JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Google Inc (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research)
are on tap to report later in the week.

“There’s a question of whether companies can meet the
fairly optimistic expectations,” said John Carey, portfolio
manager at Pioneer Investment Management in Boston, which has
about $260 billion in assets under management. “There’s
potential for disappointment, but if they come in line or above
the market could experience a continued rally.”

Carey said he expects earnings to be strong, “but there
were a lot of odd things that happened during the quarter that
could affect results,” citing higher prices for raw materials.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 5.03 points,
or 0.04 percent, at 12,385.08. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index
(.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research) was down 2.78 points, or 0.21 percent, at 1,325.39. The
Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: Quote, Profile, Research) was down 11.99 points, or 0.43
percent, at 2,768.43.

NYSE Euronext (NYX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) on Sunday rejected a joint buyout bid
from Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and IntercontinentalExchange
(ICE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and said it was sticking with an earlier bid from
Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1Gn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research). Nasdaq reaffirmed that its offer
was superior to Deutsche Boerse’s lower offer. [ID:nN10204369]

NYSE shares fell 2.1 percent to $37.90 while Nasdaq OMX
fell 1.4 percent to $28.04 and ICE was 0.3 percent higher at
$120.86.

Also in deal news, Endo Pharmaceuticals Holding Inc
(ENDP.O: Quote, Profile, Research) said it would buy American Medical Systems Holdings
Inc (AMMD.O: Quote, Profile, Research) for about $2.6 billion while Level 3
Communications Inc (LVLT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) agreed to buy Global Crossing Ltd
(GLBC.O: Quote, Profile, Research) for $1.9 billion in stock. [ID:nL3E7FB1PZ] and
[ID:nL3E7FB29F]

Endo rallied 2,6 percent to $41.92 while American Medical
jumped 32 percent to $29.46. Level 3 rose 8.7 percent to $1.57
and Global Crossing surged 55 percent to $23.00.

Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB.O: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 6.5 percent to $78.04 and was
the top percentage gainer on the Nasdaq 100 (.NDX: Quote, Profile, Research) after the
company’s experimental multiple sclerosis drug met the main
goal in the first of two important late-stage studies.
[ID:nN11283786]

Flextronics International (FLEX.O: Quote, Profile, Research) was the top percentage
loser on the Nasdaq 100, falling 3.5 percent, after rival
Benchmark Electronics Inc (BHE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) cut its first-quarter
outlook, citing soft demand. [ID:nL3E7FB1ZB]

Tenet Healthcare Corp (THC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said it has sued its suitor,
Community Health Systems Inc (CYH.N: Quote, Profile, Research), claiming the rival
hospital operator improperly admitted patients to overbill
insurers, including Medicare.

Shares of Tenet sank 15.5 percent to $6.38 while Community
slumped 34 percent to $26.45. [ID:nN11291765]
(Editing by Leslie Adler)

US STOCKS-Markets flat as caution prevails ahead of earnings