FOX Business: The Power to Prosper
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The blue chips drifted into the red on Monday in particularly light volume as traders parsed through several corporate mergers and data from Europe. Meanwhile, shares of tech titan Apple advanced solidly, helping push the Nasdaq into the green.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 33.3 points, or 0.25%, to 13125, the S&P 500 dipped 0.69 point, or 0.05%, to 1410 and Nasdaq Composite rose 3.4 points, or 0.11%, to 3073.
There were just under 2.5 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange on the day, marking the thinnest full trading session of the year. The two best performing sectors were technology and utilities, while materials and telecommunications stocks posted the weakest performance.
Apple (AAPL) shares zipped nearly 2% higher after it beat South Korean Samsung competitor in a closely-watched patent lawsuit. Samsung, which has said it will appeal the results, was ordered to pay America's biggest publicly traded company by market capitalization $1.05 billion.
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Given Apple's $621 billion market value, movements in its stock price often have an outsized affect on the broader markets.
There were also several notable mergers on the day. IBM (IBM) said it would buy Kenexa (KNXA) for $1.3 billion. M&T Bank (MTB) revealed plans to scoop up Hudson City Bancorp (HCBK) in a $3.7 billion deal. Hertz (HTZ) also sealed its deal to acquire Dollar Thrifty (DTG) for $2.3 billion.
Best Buy (BBY) said its reached a pact for its founder to Richard Schulze to conduct due diligence. Schulze, who is looking to take the struggling retailer private, was also offered two board seats as part of the agreement.
Elsewhere, a key measure of business confidence in Germany sunk for the fourth month in a row in August to its lowest level since March 2010. The report from the Ifo Institute comes as yet another sign that even Europe's biggest economy isn't immune to flagging global demand and the eurozone's debt crisis.
"Today's release confirmed our view that weaker global demand will soon be felt in Germany," Barclays analyst Thomas Harjes wrote in a note to clients.
Gasoline prices rose as Tropical Storm Isaac threatened offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and a fire struck at a refinery in Venezuela. So far 24.2% of U.S. offshore production has been shutdown, according to a report by Reuters, citing the U.S. Energy Department. Big producers such as BP (BP), Chevron (CVX), Anadarko Petroleum (ADC) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) have all been forced to take measures in light of the big storm system.
Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline jumped 2.5% to $3.155 a gallon. The benchmark crude contract traded in New York fell 71 cents, or 0.71%, to $95.47 a barrel.
In metals, gold gained $2.70, or 0.16%, to $1,676 a troy ounce.
The economic calendar is light on the day, with a regional Federal Reserve manufacturing survey on tap. However, it is set to be a busy week with several important reports and a speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on the schedule.
The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 1.1% to 2462 and the German DAX gained 1.1% to 7047. The markets in the U.K. were closed.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 tilted higher by 0.16% to 9085 and the Chinese Hang Seng fell 0.41% to 19799.