By Tanya Agrawal
U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday as investors desisted from taking large positions ahead of the outcome of the U.S. election next week.The FBI's review of newly discovered emails related to Hillary Clinton's use of a private server added to the uncertainty over U.S. presidential elections. While Clinton had opened a recent lead over her unpredictable Republican rival Donald Trump in national polls, it had been narrowing even before the email controversy resurfaced.An ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Sunday showed Clinton with a statistically insignificant 1-point national lead."The narrowing of the polls is making the market a little bit nervous because it had priced in a Clinton victory," said Thomas Wilson, senior investment manager at Brinker Capital, Berwyn, Pennsylvania."This has caused some uncertainty and we all know the market hates that. I expect the market to be stuck in a no-man's land until the election."
On Monday, though, investor sentiment was buoyed by a flurry of deals.Dow component General Electric was up 0.61 percent at $29.39 after it said it would merge its oil and gas business with oilfield services provider Baker Hughes. Baker Hughes was down 1.8 percent at $58.04.Level 3 Communications rose 4.3 percent to $56.42 after CenturyLink said it would buy the company in a deal with an equity value of about $24 billion. CenturyLink fell 10.5 percent to $27.20.At 10:58 a.m. ET (1458 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 1.78 points, or 0.01 percent, at 18,159.41, the S&P 500 was up 1.77 points, or 0.08 percent, at 2,128.18 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 4.32 points, or 0.08 percent, at 5,194.42.
Nike fell 3.2 percent to $50.36 and was the biggest drag on the Dow, after BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock.Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the utilities index's 1.61 percent rise leading the advancers.The energy index slid 0.98 percent after oil prices fell, with the Brent crude futures hitting their lowest in more than a month. [O/R]
The market is also watching the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, which begins on Tuesday. The Fed is unlikely to make a move this week, as it is too close to the election, with many market participants instead expecting a hike in December.With uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the election and the Fed raising rates by the year-end, the U.S. market is headed for its worst monthly decline since January.Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,397 to 1,375. On the Nasdaq, 1,419 issues fell and 1,132 advanced.The S&P 500 index showed seven new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 16 new highs and 72 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)
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Updated Date: Oct 31, 2016 22:45 PM