Earnings season started slowly Monday, with major U.S. indexes closing little changed on light volume as investors await profit reports Tuesday from chipmaker

Intel

(INTC:Nasdaq) and mortgage giant

Fannie Mae

(FNM:NYSE).

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

rose 5.39 to a record 6709.18, while the technology-heavy

Nasdaq Composite

index shed 1.11 to 1330.91. The

S&P 500

index of bigger stocks rose 0.01 to end at 759.51, and advancing issues on the

New York Stock Exchange

led decliners, 1,366 to 1,159.

Smaller stocks were also mixed. The

Russell 2000

index ended the day at 365.85, down 0.24.

Even as the Dow cruised to another record, the always-dour Michael Metz, chief strategist at

Oppenheimer & Co.

, said the good times are almost over. Metz, who remained bearish throughout 1996 as the Dow gained 26%, said he sees no reason to change his views now. He said bulls have three strikes against them: rising interest rates, higher core inflation, and slowing corporate earnings.

"1997 is going to be characterized by more disappointments than upside surprises," said Metz, humming a familiar tune for followers of the oft-quoted market seer. He sees the worst disappointments in the high-flying, high-multiple "exotic techs," including networking and software companies.

As has frequently been the case in the past two years, market pros didn't heed Metz warnings. Ahead of expected earnings reports, Intel gained 2 1/2 to 147, and troubled networking equipment maker

Bay Networks

(BAY:NYSE) gained 3/4, or 3.4%, to close at 22 3/4 on heavy volume of 5.7 million shares. Fannie Mae lost 3/4 to 38 5/8. One of 1996's top performers, computer manufacturer

Dell

(DELL:Nasdaq), rose 1 1/4 to 61 1/4.

Other major movers included oil company stocks. Big Oil, which has been a winner for the last two months, dropped yesterday on slipping crude prices and a downgrade of

Mobil

(MOB:NYSE) from

Schroder Wertheim,

which noted the stock's recent rise left it just 2% below the company's year-end 1997 price target.

Mobil fell to 2 1/2 to 127 5/8, while

Exxon

(XON:NYSE) dropped 2 1/2 to 103 1/4 and

Chevron

(CHV:NYSE) slipped 1 3/8 ro 68 1/8.

The biggest trader of the day was

Roslyn Financial

(RSLN:NYSE), a Long Island savings bank, with more than 16 million shares trading. The company's $400 million IPO, initially priced at 10, ended the day at 15.

By Alex Berenson

aberenson@thestreet.com