With traders reluctant to make significant moves, stocks showed a lack of direction throughout the trading day on Monday. The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders looked ahead to remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
The major averages eventually ended the session mixed, with the Nasdaq posting a modest gain. While the Nasdaq inched up 3.40 points or 0.1 percent to 3,073.19, the Dow fell 33.30 points or 0.3 percent to 13,124.67 and the S&P 500 edged down 0.69 points or 0.1 percent at 1,410.44.
A lack of major U.S. economic data contributed to the lackluster performance on Wall Street, with traders looking ahead to the Kansas City Federal Reserve's Jackson Hole symposium.
Fed Chairman Bernanke is among those that are expected to speak at the event on Friday along with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and International Monetary Fund President Christine Lagarde.
Ahead of the speeches, reports on U.S. consumer confidence, pending home sales, and personal income and spending may attract some attention.
Last week, Bernanke sent a letter to Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., defending the Fed's actions to support the economy.
In the letter, which was obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Bernanke also told Issa there is "scope for further action by the Federal Reserve to ease financial conditions and strengthen the recovery."
Despite the lack of direction shown by the broader markets, shares of Apple (AAPL) moved notably higher, with the iPad and iPhone maker advancing by 1.9 percent.
The gain by Apple came after the company was awarded more than $1 billion in damages in a patent infringement lawsuit against rival Samsung.
Shares of Dollar Thrifty (DTG) also moved to the upside after the car rental company agreed to be acquired by rival Hertz Global (HTZ) in a deal valued at about $2.3 billion. The deal values Dollar Thrifty at $87.50 per share, an 8 percent premium to its closing price on Friday.
Hudson City Bancorp (HCBK) posted standout gain after agreeing to be acquired by M&T Bank (MTB) in a transaction valued at approximately $3.7 billion. Shares of Hudson City surged up by 15.6 percent.
While most of the major sectors showed only modest moves, considerable weakness was visible among trucking stocks. Reflecting the weakness in the trucking sector, the Dow Jones Trucking Index fell by 1.3 percent on the day.
YRC Worldwide (YRCW) and Arkansas Best (ABFS) turned in two of the sector's worst performances, falling by 3.7 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.
Gold stocks also came under pressure over the course of the session, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 1.3 percent. The weakness among gold stocks came as the price of the precious metal moved to the downside in electronic trading.
Brokerage, housing, and steel stocks also posted notable losses on the day, while strength was visible among healthcare provider, health insurance, and networking stocks.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Monday. China's Shanghai Composite Index tumbled by 1.7 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 0.4 percent. However, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index bucked the downtrend and edged up by 0.2 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European averages moved notably higher over the course of the trading day. The French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, while the German DAX Index surged up by 1.1 percent. The U.K. market was closed for a public holiday.
In the bond market, treasuries moved moderately higher after turning lower over the course of the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, fell by 2.9 basis points to 1.649 percent.
Following today's lack of major U.S. economic data, trading on Tuesday could be impacted by the release of reports on home prices and consumer confidence.
by RTT Staff Writer
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