Nasdaq climbs, Dow drifts
Technology sector strength lifts composite, but broader market meanders; oil prices slide.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Falling oil prices and a buoyant tech sector boosted the Nasdaq composite Monday, but disappointing news out of Wal-Mart and Verizon kept the Dow spinning its wheels.
The tech-fueled Nasdaq (up 12.18 to 2,362.80, Charts) added nearly 0.6 percent, according to early tallies, after touching a 5-1/2 year high last week.
The Dow Jones industrial average (down 7.37 to 12,082.89, Charts) ended just below unchanged. The blue-chip barometer has closed at record highs in 13 out of the previous 19 sessions.
The broader S&P 500 (up 0.18 to 1,377.52, Charts) index ended just above breakeven. Last week, the S&P 500 index touched a nearly 6-year high.
Treasury prices inched higher, lowering the corresponding yields.The dollar was mixed versus other major currencies.
Oil prices slumped and gold prices rose.
Here's a look at what was influencing trade near the close.
Stocks slumped Friday after a weak reading on third-quarter economic growth gave investors a reason to take profits off the recent rally. That weakness spread to Monday morning trade. But the tone improved by mid-morning, with tech taking the lead.
"It's impressive, it just continues to climb," said Greg Church, president at Church Capital.
Nonetheless, market trading volume was weaker than it was last week, and gains seemed more tentative in the afternoon Monday, Church said, suggesting that the advance could be losing steam in the short run.
Looking forward, there is plenty to suggest the advance can keep going, said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co.
"You've got strong earnings, stable and lower energy prices, and a friendly Fed," Hogan said. "You've also got a lot of people who missed the third-quarter move up and who are now going to have to try to make up for it in the fourth quarter."
Chipmakers, computer hardware and computer software all led the tech sector higher.
The Philadelphia Semiconductor (up 5.09 to 457.40, Charts) index added 1 percent, the Goldman Sachs Hardware (up 3.72 to 384.39, Charts) index added 1.2 percent and the Goldman Sachs Software (up 2.22 to 182.72, Charts) index climbed 1.4 percent.
Yahoo! (up $0.63 to $25.97, Charts) gained 2.5 percent after Merrill Lynch upgraded it to "buy" from "neutral," saying that it's at a good entry point for investors ahead of a seasonally strong holiday period.
Wal-Mart Stores (down $1.29 to $49.44, Charts) said over the weekend that October sales at stores open a year or more rose about 0.5 percent, below its own reduced forecasts of about 1 percent. Shares fell 2 percent Monday.
Verizon Communications (down $1.11 to $37.73, Charts) reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped forecasts. But the phone giant's non-traditional businesses, such as broadband, may not have shown the kind of growth analysts were looking for, and shares fell about 3 percent.
In deals news, American Power Conversion (Charts) accepted a $6.1 billion buyout offer from French electric gear-maker Schneider Electric. Shares of American Power, a maker of power supply gear, jumped 26 percent in active Nasdaq trading.
Market breadth was positive. On the New York Stock Exchange, winners beat losers nine to seven on volume of 1.45 billion shares. On the Nasdaq, advancers edged decliners eight to seven on volume of 1.75 billion shares.
Income jumps, inflation mild
In economic news, September personal income rose 0.5 percent, according to a government report released in the morning. That was more than what Wall Street economists were expecting and up from the prior month. Personal spending rose a smaller-than-expected 0.1 percent in the month.
The core-PCE deflator, the report's inflation component, was up 0.2 percent, as expected.
Investors also took in morning comments from Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker, who has been the lone dissenter at the last three Fed policy meetings, voting for a quarter-percentage point hike in interest rates, rather than a pause.
Lacker said that, on a long-term basis, core inflation was unacceptably high. He also said the economy could withstand a few more rate hikes.
Treasury prices crept higher, lowering the yield on the 10-year note to 4.66 percent, down from 4.67 percent late Friday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.
In currency trading, the dollar gained against the euro but fell against the yen.
COMEX gold for December delivery rose $6.20 to $607.20 an ounce.