Stocks Drifting in Early Trade

Stocks Drifting in Early Trade

(AP) -- U.S. stocks drifted between small gains and losses in early trading Monday as investors pored over the latest batch of company deal news. Materials and energy stocks were among the biggest decliners. The market is coming off its fifth straight week of gains.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,592 as of 10:04 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index shed less than one point to 2,049. The Nasdaq composite gained eight points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,804.

HOSPITABLE MOVE: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide climbed 4 percent after the company agreed to be acquired by rival hotel operator Marriott International. The buyout, which could be contested by China's Anbang, would create the world's biggest hotel company. Starwood rose $3.23 to $83.80. Marriott International slipped 84 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $72.32.

NO DEAL: Affymetrix slumped 9.8 percent after the maker of equipment used to analyze genetic codes rejected a bid from Original Technologies, preferring instead a rival offer that Thermo Fisher Scientific made in January. Affymetrix dropped $1.56 to $14.43. Thermo Fisher dipped 48 cents to $139.52.

PAINT IT GREEN: Valspar vaulted 24.3 percent after the paint maker agreed to be acquired by competitor Sherwin-Williams for about $9 billion. Valspar gained $20.36 to $104.19. Sherwin slid $7.51, or 2.6 percent, to $281.18.

EXECUTIVE SHUFFLE: Valeant Pharmaceuticals jumped 10.5 percent after the company announced a succession plan to replace CEO Michael Pearson. Activist investor Bill Ackman will join the troubled company's board. The stock added $2.82 to $29.80.

OVERSEAS MARKETS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was flat, while France's CAC 40 was down 0.5 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was little changed. Stocks were mixed in Asia. South Korea's benchmark Kospi index slipped 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.1 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.3 percent. Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 52 cents, or 1.3 percent, at $39.96 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, was up 57 cents, or 1.4 percent, at $41.77 a barrel in London.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.91 percent from 1.88 percent late Friday. The euro rose to $1.1263 while the dollar rose to 111.76 yen.

(KA)