US Stocks Waver in Midday Trade

NEW YORK (AP) --- U.S. stocks moved between small gains and losses on Tuesday as investors assessed the latest company earnings reports and deal news. Allstate slumped after the insurance company reported earnings that missed analysts' expectations. Pharmaceutical maker Baxalta jumped after rival Shire agreed to buy the company for about $30 billion. Apple fell sharply for a second day.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index was flat at 2,098 as of 12:17 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 9 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 17,582. The Nasdaq composite was little changed at 5,113.

ALLSTATE SLUMP: Allstate was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500. The insurer dropped $8.24, or 11.9 percent, to $61.13 after reporting earnings that fell significantly short of analysts' expectations. The company said its earnings dropped because of more frequent and more severe auto accidents.

THE QUOTE: Stocks have traded in a relatively tight range since the S&P 500 closed at a record May 21. Even though the overall market may appear to be in the summer doldrums, it's masking a series of sharp gains and losses, says Kate Warne, an investment strategist at brokerage Edward Jones.

"Stocks haven't moved any place, but it's because there's been an equal mix of gainers and losers," says Jones. "What we're seeing is a back-and-forth market, not a doldrums market."

PHARMA DEAL: Pharmaceutical company Baxalta jumped $4.76, or 14 percent after larger rival Shire offered $30 billion in stock to acquire the company to solidify its position in rare disease treatments. Baxalta, which was spun off of from Baxter International in July, focuses on bleeding disorders.

U.S. EMPLOYMENT: Investors are looking ahead to monthly U.S. job figures due out Friday. A robust report is likely to cement expectations for a U.S. interest rate hike in September or December. A FactSet survey of analysts predicts that U.S. employers added 225,000 jobs in July, slightly better than June's strong figure of 223,000. Ultra-low interest rates have driven gains in stock prices for several years and a rate hike is likely to ruffle markets.

EUROPE'S DAY: France's CAC 40 dropped 0.3 percent, while Germany's DAX and Britain's FTSE 100 were little changed. Greece's stock market fell for a second day since reopening after a five-week shutdown, though its losses were modest at 2 percent. The market plunged 16 percent on Monday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 88 cents to $46.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. U.S. crude prices have fallen sharply over the past month on signs of a supply glut as global demand wanes.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.18 percent from 2.15 percent. The dollar edged up to 124.08 yen and the euro rose to $1.0974.

(KA)