US stock indexes struggle higher after an early loss; Dow, S&P 500 hold at record levels

Energy Associated Press

U.S. stocks indexes are edging mostly higher in early trading Monday as the market comes off its latest record high. European markets were mostly lower amid more uncertainty over Greece's finances.

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KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose three points, less than 0.1 percent, to 18,273 as of 9:54 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 was up a fraction at 2,122 and the Nasdaq composite rose two points to 5,050. The S&P 500 closed at its latest record high on Friday. The Dow was trading about 15 points below its own record high Monday.

DEALS: Ann Inc., the parent company of Ann Taylor and Loft, jumped $8.09, or 21 percent, to $46.78 after it agreed to be acquired by The Ascena Retail Group. Ascena's stock rose 62 cents, or 4 percent, to $14.84. Endo International fell $2.52, or 3 percent, to $82.79 after it agreed to buy privately held Par Pharmaceutical for $8 billion.

EUROPE: Germany's DAX edged up 0.5 percent and Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.2 percent. France's CAC 40 lost 0.3 percent.

CAUTION APLENTY: Greece said Monday it needs to reach a deal with creditors to get more bailout cash by the end of the month if it to avoid default. Greek government bond prices fell on the news, sending the yield on Greece's 10-year bond up to 11.37 percent from 10.60 percent.

JAPAN DATA: Japan's report of stronger than forecast machinery orders in March boosted confidence that the recovery may be gaining ground, though most analysts expect the central bank to keep its ultra-loose stance unchanged during this week's policy meeting.

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ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index rose 0.8 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.8 percent. South Korea's Kospi rebounded from losses to gain 0.3 percent to 2,113.72. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.6 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil gained nine cents to $59.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.20 percent from 2.15 percent Friday.

CURRENCIES: The euro slipped $1.1345 from $1.1390 on Friday. The dollar climbed to 119.86 yen from 119.38 yen on Friday.