Stocks Close Mixed
Major stock indices closed mixed Monday, after trading in tight ranges and light volume throughout the day. With no major economic or earnings news to drive momentum, investors' attention turned to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's testimony to the Senate Wednesday.
On Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 4.88 points, or 0.05%, to close at 10,791.13. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 0.94 points, or 0.07%, to close at 1,206.14. The Nasdaq composite index gained 6.25 points, or
Looking ahead to Tuesday, among the companies scheduled to release earnings is Quest Communications (Q ).
In economic news Tuesday, retail sales for January will be released. Economists are expecting sales to fall 0.4%, according to Action Economics, after rising by 1.2% in December.
On Monday, crude oil futures settled up 0.47% higher at $47.38 a barrel, over fears that OPEC may cut supply in the second quarter.
In merger news Monday, Verizon Communications (VZ ) Monday announced that it would be acquiring MCI Corp. (MCIP ) for $6.75 billion in stock, cash and dividends. The deal is meant to block a rival bid for MCI by Qwest Communications (Q ). Verizon's shares closed slightly lower, while MCI's fell 4% and Qwest's fell 4%.
Movie Gallery (MOVI ) on Monday said it had regulatory clearance to proceed with its offer to buy Hollywood Entertainment (HLYW ). Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported that federal regulators may be preparing to challenge Blockbuster's (BBI ) hostile bid to acquire Hollywood for $991 million. Blockbuster fell 1% while Hollywood Entertainment fell about 1.4%.
In other corporate news, insurance giant AIG said Monday it has received subpoenas from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The subpoenas focus on AIG's non-traditional insurance products, assumed reinsurance transactions and accounting for those transactions. Its stock fell 2.4%.
Nokia (NOK ), the world's largest cellphone maker, and Microsoft (MSFT ), the largest software company, announced that they are working together on technology that will enable customers to easily download digital music online and play it on handsets. As part of the deal, Nokia agreed to put use some of Microsoft's technology in its handsets. Both companies' shares closed up slightly.
Office-products retailer OfficeMax (OMX ) announced Monday that its chief executive Christopher Milliken resigned. The company also said that it fired six people as a result of a continuing investigation into accounting. Its shares fell 5.7%.
On Sunday, General Motors . (GM ) agreed to pay $1.99 billion to Fiat (FIA ) to dissolve their five-year-old partnership agreement. Under the terms of the deal, GM is released from its obligation to buy the 90 percent of Fiat's auto unit that does not already own, although the two companies will continue to cooperate on certain projects. GM's shares were up slightly, while Fiat's gained 5%.
At the end of Monday's session, longer-dated Treasuries were higher in price, ahead of Greenspan's testimony at the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday. The yield on the 10-year bond was 4.08%.
European stock markets closed lower Monday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 fell 2.40 points, or 0.05%, to close at 5,041.80. Among the decliners was British Energy, which reported disappointing third-quarter results.
Germany's DAX index was down 1.40 points, or 0.03%, to close at 4,386.40, ahead of a busy week of economic releases and corporate earnings.
In Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 4.64 points, or 0.12%, to close at 4,012.11. The index was held back by disappointing earnings reports from names including Michelin and Total.
Asian markets closed higher Monday. Japan's Nikkei index gained 78.64, or 0.68%, to close at 11,632.20, its highest close in more than seven months. Boosting the index were gains from chip related and technology stocks, including Tokyo Electron.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 171.60, or 1.24%, to 14,017.23.