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Stocks close little changed ahead of big earnings week

CNBC logo CNBC 7/17/2017 Fred Imbert

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Stocks ended near the flatline Monday as traders geared up for a slew of earnings reports later this week.

Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Microsoft, Qualcomm and eBay are just a few of the companies scheduled to release quarterly results this week. Asset manager BlackRock posted quarterly results earlier on Monday, missing analyst estimates on both revenue and profit. Netflix is set to report Monday after the close.

Overall earnings are expected to grow by 6.2 percent this quarter, according to S&P Capital IQ. Earnings in the first quarter rose by approximately 15 percent.

"We expect 2Q earnings season to deliver again with another upside surprise relative to consensus expectations and it is likely to be broad like 1Q," Michael Wilson, equity strategist at Morgan Stanley, said in a note Monday. " We believe the US equity market can continue to grind higher on the back of improving earnings as it has done for the past several months."

Wall Street is keeping a close eye on quarterly earnings, given the stock market's latest record run. The Dow and S&P notched all-time highs last week. 

"While high valuation levels remain a concern as well as the longevity of the bull market, this is offset by the fact that corporate earnings have recovered from the slump two years ago," said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Baird, in a note Monday.

Traders also watched oil prices Monday, as crude rose 5.2 percent last week.

"Oil is looking pretty good. Sentiment is turning positive. I think we're heading back to $50 in the short-term," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

That said, oil prices have fallen about 12 percent over the past three months as oversupply concerns have remained.

No major economic data were released Monday.

In Treasurys, the benchmark 10-year yield traded at 2.32 percent, while the short-term two-year yield rose to 1.356 percent. 

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