Stocks finished a choppy session with mild losses. With traders looking ahead to key information due out later in the week, the market was unable to find significant momentum.
Wall Street was unable to build on the gains posted late last week. Meanwhile, traders resisted the temptation to take substantial profits after the recent run up, as hope still exists for progress on a solution for the euro-zone debt crisis or for signs of additional stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
After indications pointed to a likely bout of profit-taking in the early going, stocks were actually able to post some modest gains by the mid-morning. A mid-day slide reversed that advance, however, and shares held below the flat line through much of the rest of the day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 2.65 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to close at 13,073.01. The gains last week allowed the Dow to push back above the 13,000 mark. The S&P 500 dipped less than a point to close at 1,385.30.
The Nasdaq was the worst performer among the major averages. It slipped 12.25 points, or 0.41 percent, to close at 2,945.84.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti have again vowed to defend the euro. The two leaders made the pledge during a phone conversation on Sunday. They also stated that the decisions made at the EU summit last month must be implemented as quickly as possible.
On the corporate front, the bulk of earnings season is over, but some noteworthy reports are still coming out.
Arch Coal Inc. (ACI) said Friday it slipped to a loss for the second quarter. The miner incurred mine closure and impairment charges amid persisting weakness in U.S. coal demand. Nonetheless, the company's results were better than Wall Street analysts had predicted.
Shares of Arch Coal gained 42 cents, or 6.2 percent, to close at $7.04.
In other news, CB&I (CBI) has reached a definitive merger deal to acquire Shaw Group (SHAW) for around $3 billion. The company will pay $46 per share in a cash and stock transaction.
CB&I dropped $5.76, or 14.2 percent, to close at $34.94. Shares of the acquiring company usually decline after a merger is announced. Shaw Group advanced $14.80, or 55.5 percent, to finish at $41.49.
European stocks finished the day sharply higher. France advanced 1.4 percent. Germany posted a gain of 1.3 percent. The U.K. climbed 1.2 percent.
Asian stocks have finished higher in today's trading. Japan advanced 0.8 percent. Hong Kong climbed 1.6 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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