US STOCKS-Wall St flat as S&P faces strong resistance


 * S&P 500 seen testing its 2011 high
 * Pfizer to sell unit to KKR for about $2.4 billion
 * General Dynamics slumps after jet crash
 * Dow up 0.1 pct, S&P up 0.02 pct; Nasdaq off 0.01 pct
 * For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
 (Updates to late morning)
 By Edward Krudy
 NEW YORK, April 4 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 met tough
overhead resistance on Monday as traders saw little reason to
push up stock prices in the face of lingering geopolitical
uncertainties that have weighed on equities recently.
 The benchmark S&P 500 hovered near 1,333, a level it has
been unable to close above since mid-February. That level is
double the 12-year low hit in March 2009 and is not far from
1,344, the S&P's 2011 high and its highest since June 2008.
 "We have a lot of resistance right above and at the moment
not enough reason to push through that resistance," said  
Frank Lesh, an analyst and broker at FuturePath Trading in
Chicago. "Overall, the market is performing quite well and
we're holding in here."
 On Friday, the S&P recorded its best two-week period since
December, and the Dow industrials (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) hit their highest
intraday level since June 2008.
  <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
  S&P 500 faces resistance http://r.reuters.com/daf88r
  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>
 The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 10.52
points, or 0.08 percent, to 12,387.24. The Standard & Poor's
500 Index (.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research) rose just 0.23 of a point,or 0.02 percent,
to 1,332.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: Quote, Profile, Research) dipped 0.27 of
a point, or 0.01 percent, to 2,789.34.
 The lack of significant economic data on Monday, nuclear
and other quake-related problems in Japan and unrest in Libya,
Syria and other countries in the oil-rich region of North
Africa and the Middle East could translate into low volume on
Wall Street.
 Last week was the lowest in volume so far in 2011.
 Lesh said investors would likely stay cautious ahead of
first-quarter earnings season that starts with Alcoa Inc
(AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) next week.
 Richard Ross, global technical strategist at Auerbach
Grayson in New York, said the S&P 500 could retake its yearly
high this week.
 "I think the market has enough inertia and the retest of
1,344 is in store," he said. "We're looking for a marginal new
high on the S&P 500 setting you up for the next leg of the
advance.
 "If you did have a breakout which failed, those false
breakouts often lead to a fast move in the opposite
direction." Ross said.
 In acquisition news, Pfizer Inc (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 1.1 percent
to $20.60 after the drugmaker agreed to sell its Capsugel
unit, the world's largest maker of hard capsules, to private
equity firm KKR & Co (KKR.N: Quote, Profile, Research) for nearly $2.4 billion.
 Shares of defense contractor General Dynamics (GD.N: Quote, Profile, Research)
dropped 6.6 percent to $73.34 after its business jet unit
Gulfstream Aerospace said a jet crashed during a test flight
on Saturday, killing two pilots and two flight-test
engineers.
 Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N: Quote, Profile, Research) shares dropped 2.9 percent
to $12.30 after planes were grounded for inspection. A U.S.
safety investigator said on Sunday evidence of widespread
fuselage cracks was found on a jet that made an emergency
landing with a hole in the cabin. For details see
[ID:nWEN0436].
 Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) is holding off on making any
decision as to whether to raise its rival offer for NYSE
Euronext, two sources familiar with Deutsche Boerse's thinking
said on Monday. [ID:nLDE7330LT] Shares of NYSE Euronext
(NYX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 1.1 percent to $39.15.
 (Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Jan Paschal)


US STOCKS-Wall St flat as S&P faces strong resistance