US STOCKS-S&P 500 near flat; hedge fund default concerns hit banks

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US STOCKS-S&P 500 near flat; hedge fund default concerns hit banks
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* Boeing (NYSE: BA ) rises on Southwest order for 737 MAX jets

* Archegos-linked stocks extend losses from last week

* Indexes: Dow up 0.3%, S&P down 0.1%, Nasdaq down 0.8%

(Updates to afternoon)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 was nearly flat in Monday afternoon trading, with bank shares falling amid warnings of potential losses from a hedge fund's default on margin calls, while optimism over the economy limited the day's declines.

The Dow was higher, with shares of planemaker Boeing Co BA.N up 1.9% after the company reached a deal with U.S. budget carrier Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV ) Co LUV.N for a variant of the 737 MAX aircraft. 8604.T and Credit Suisse CSGN.S are facing billions of dollars in losses after a U.S. hedge fund, named by sources as Archegos Capital, defaulted on margin calls, putting investors on edge about who else might have been caught out. of Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ) MS.N were down 2.5% after the Financial Times reported it had also sold billions of shares, while the banks index .SPXBK shed about 1.9%.

"There's still chatter as to whether or not, and which, American banks may be affected. That is a question that's lurking. But so far the market has taken (the news) in stride essentially," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial (NYSE: PRU ) in Newark, New Jersey.

Optimism about speedy vaccinations and record stimulus, which drove the Dow and the S&P 500 to record closing highs on Friday, helped keep a floor in the market, she said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 103 points, or 0.31%, to 33,175.88, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 4.21 points, or 0.11%, to 3,970.33 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 102.52 points, or 0.78%, to 13,036.21.

Discovery (JO: DSBPp ) Inc DISCA.O , ViacomCBS VIAC.O , U.S.-listed shares of Baidu BIDU.O and VIPShop VIPS.N , all linked to Archegos, were lower, extending recent losses.

Wall Street's fear gauge .VIX rose.

The Nasdaq is set to post its first monthly decline in five months while the S&P 500 and Dow are headed for their second consecutive monthly gains.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.94-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.11-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 69 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 81 new highs and 50 new lows.

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