Markets Fade After Early Gain

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks gained ground early Monday as they came off their best week in 2015, but faded in the afternoon and sustained small losses for the day.

Technology stocks fell more than the rest of the market. Pfizer and Allergan slipped after announcing a deal to combine and create the world's largest drug company. GameStop skidded after reporting weak results.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 31.13 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,792.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 2.58 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,086.59. The Nasdaq composite index fell 2.44 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,102.48.

The S&P 500 index rose 3.3 percent last week, lifted by good news from retailers and tech stocks. That was its largest weekly gain since last December. However, it wasn't quite enough to cancel out the big loss the S&P suffered the previous week.

Pfizer, the maker of Viagra and Lipitor, said it will buy Botox maker Allergan for about $155 billion. The New York-based company will gain new products that will help it counteract the expiration of patents protecting some key drugs. Pfizer will also become based in Ireland as part of the deal, reducing its tax bill.

If the purchase goes through, it will be one of the largest corporate transactions in history. It's also the biggest deal in 2015, a year that has been filled with big mergers. Just two weeks ago, Budweiser maker AB InBev agreed to buy rival beer maker SABMiller for $107 billion.

Pfizer gave up 85 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $31.33 and Allergan fell $10.74, or 3.4 percent, to $301.72. The companies said last month that they were discussing a combination, and Allergan shares are up about 6 percent since then while Pfizer stock has lost 11 percent.

Apple dragged down the technology sector as its stock fell $1.55, or 1.3 percent, to $117.75.

Video game retailer GameStop slipped after it reported a smaller quarterly profit and less revenue than analysts had forecast. The company said sales of new games and game systems weren't as good as it expected, and sales were also hurt by delays in opening some stores. Its shares slid $1.65, or 4.2 percent, to $37.61.

Video game maker Electronic Arts fell after GameStop's announcement, losing $3.44, or 4.8 percent, to $68.98.

Consumer discretionary stocks rose. Chipotle Mexican Grill rebounded $23.10, or 4.3 percent, to $559.29. The stock dropped 12 percent and set an annual low Friday on reports that an E. coli outbreak linked to its restaurants had spread.

Amazon rose $10.54, or 1.6 percent, to $678.99 days before Black Friday. Macy's, which like many retailers has taken a beating on fears the holiday shopping season will be weak, rose $1.44, or 3.7 percent, to $40.04.

Tuesday morning the Conference Board will release its latest Consumer Confidence report. That will give investors more insight into how consumers are feeling and how much they'll spend shopping.

Tobias Levkovich, chief U.S. Equity Strategist for Citi Investment Research, said consumers will keep spending because businesses are hiring, energy costs and interest rates are low, and there are some signs that wages are increasing.

"Large and small business both look primed to keep hiring, which has got to be good news for consumers," he said.

British drugmaker Mallinckrodt and food producer Tyson both climbed following solid quarterly reports. Tyson climbed $4.44, or 10.2 percent, to $48.09. Mallinckrodt gained $5.10, or 8.4 percent, to $66.10. Its shares have plunged 47 percent since early August on concerns about new regulations of drug prices, which could hurt its business.

Alcoa rose after the hedge fund Elliott Management disclosed that it has bought a 6.4 percent stake in the maker of aluminum and other metals. Alcoa picked up 38 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $9.07.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 15 cents, or 0.4 percent, to close at $41.75 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose 17 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $44.83 a barrel in London.

Heating oil edged up 0.3 cents to $1.374 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline added 2.3 cents to $1.313 a gallon. Natural gas rose 6.5 cents, or 3 percent, to $2.21 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Metals prices are mired in a slump that has taken them to their lowest prices in six years. That continued Monday, as gold fell $9.50, or 0.9 percent, to $1,066.80 an ounce and silver lost six cents, or 0.5 percent, to $14.03 an ounce. Copper slid 3.4 cents, or 1.7 percent, $2.02 per pound.

U.S. government bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.24 percent from 2.26 percent. The dollar rose to 122.85 yen from 122.84 yen. The euro declined to $1.0625 from $1.0657 Friday.

(KA)