US stocks : Dow up 0.1 pct

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SummaryThe Dow Jones industrial average gained 17.21 points to 13,488.43.

US stocks closing: U.S. stocks ended little changed on Friday as investors took a step back from buying ahead of next week's busy corporate earnings calendar.

Overall earnings are expected to grow by just 1.9 percent in this season, according to Thomson Reuters data. Analysts say that, with the bar low, there's room for companies to beat expectations, and that may have contributed to the rise in stocks so far in 2013.

That rally has slowed in the last few days.

"It's a market that is waiting for more of a catalyst from earnings," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

The S&P 500 index has gained 5 percent over the last two weeks to take the benchmark to five-year highs.

Wells Fargo & Co set a weak tone Friday after it reported results. It showed lower fourth-quarter net interest margin - a key measure of how much money banks make from loans - even as profit jumped.

The bank, which was the first major financial institution to report results this earnings season, also made fewer mortgage loans than in the third quarter.

Wells Fargo ended down 0.8 percent at $35.10, off its lows for the day, while bank shares weighed on the broader market. The S&P 500 financial sector index fell 0.3 percent after rallying more than 1 percent on Thursday.

Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc are due to report results next week, as are other major companies including General Electric and Intel.

An agreement reached in Washington at the start of the year over the "fiscal cliff" saw investors in U.S.-based funds add $7.53 billion to stock mutual funds in the week ended Jan 9, the most since 2001, data from Thomson Reuters' Lipper service showed.

"The money poured into the market at the beginning of the year and you're going to need new money to bring this market higher," said Krosby. She said that in the short-term the market has a bias toward moving higher, even though it is overbought.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 17.21 points, or 0.13 percent, to 13,488.43. The Standard &

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