By STEVE ROTHWELL, AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks edged higher Monday as traders looked ahead to a busy week for corporate earnings. The stock market was coming off its best week of the year. Energy stocks slumped as oil fell the most in six weeks.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard Poor’s 500 index was little changed at 2,014 as of 2:24 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 29 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,113. The Nasdaq composite climbed five points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,836.
BIG TECH DEAL: Data storage company EMC climbed 61 cents, or 2 percent, to $28.47 after Dell said it was acquiring the company in a deal valued at about $67 billion. Since going private in 2013, Dell has been investing in research and development and expanding its software and services business.
PULLING THE PLUG: Eli Lilly dropped after the drugmaker said it was halting development of evacetrapib, a drug that was intended to treat patients with high-risk heart disease. The stock fell $6.27, or 7.3 percent, to $79.80.
EARNINGS OUTLOOK: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup are among the banks that will report third-quarter earnings this week. Overall, earnings are forecast to slide by 5.3 percent, compared with the same period last year, according to data from SP Capital IQ. Most of that decline is due to a big drop in energy company earnings after a slide in oil prices.
THE QUOTE: “This earnings season will be a confirmation process. ‘Yes, we have low inflation and yes, we are growing very moderately, but fairly dependably,'” said Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “It will be OK, it won’t be great, but I think we can look forward to better earnings growth in 2016.”
A GOOD WEEK: The stock market is coming off its best week of the year. Most of the gains came after the release of last week’s disappointing jobs report, which suggested the Federal Reserve would postpone a long-anticipated interest rate rise for several months. That signal was reinforced Thursday, when the minutes from the September Fed meeting showed policymakers are too concerned about low inflation and the slowdown in China to raise interest rates. Low rates can help boost stocks by reducing returns on other, fixed-income investments such as bonds.
CHINA TRADE: Forecasters expect data Tuesday to show China’s September imports contracted by as much as 15 percent from a year earlier in a new sign of weakness in the world’s second-largest economy. Exports are expected to have declined as well due to weak global demand. The slowdown has sent shockwaves through economies that supply raw materials and components to China’s vast manufacturing industry.
EUROPE’S DAY: The U.K.’s FTSE 100 was down 0.7 percent. Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent and France’s CAC-40 was off 0.3 percent.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell $2.53 to close at $47.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell $2.67 to $50.23 a barrel in London. Oil dropped as a report showed that OPEC members are keeping up production even after a big drop in prices over the last year.
METALS: Gold closed up $8.60 at $1,164.50 an ounce. Silver rose 4.6 cents to $15.86 an ounce and copper was little changed at $2.42 per pound.
BONDS AND CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 120.05 yen. The euro rose to $1.1374. Bond trading was closed in the U.S. in observance of the Columbus Day holiday.
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