Stocks Open Slightly Higher Ahead Of Fed Speakers

By MarketWatch Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Stocks kicked off trade near break-even levels on Monday as investors brace for a pair of Federal Reserve speakers. Earlier momentum, although mostly muted, was tipping into positive territory after Friday's key employment report, which showed a better-than-expected gain of 209,000 employees added in July, pushing the unemployment rate to a 16-year low at 4.3%. Monday's early trade put the Dow's 9th straight record close in sight and a 10th straight session in positive territory. The S&P 500 tipped higher, while the Nasdaq Composite rose by less than 0.2%. In corporate news, Shares of NxStage Medical Inc. soared after Germany's Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA said it would acquire the medical-device firm for around $2 billion. Looking ahead, market participants awaited Fed speakers, highlighted by Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and St Louis. Fed President James Bullard.

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