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US: Stocks little changed ahead of Fed meeting


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished little changed on Monday as oil prices fell and investors looked ahead to a Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 15.82 points (0.09 per cent) to 17,229.13.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 2.55 (0.13 per cent) at 2,019.64, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 1.81 (0.04 per cent) at 4,750.28.

US stocks avoided big moves a day before the start of a two-day Fed meeting that is not expected to produce an interest rate hike, but could signal the outlook for higher rates.

Most petroleum-linked shares retreated with oil prices. Halliburton lost 1.7 per cent, ConocoPhillips 1.3 per cent and Apache 1.6 per cent.

The biggest gains in the Dow were by Boeing, up 1.4 per cent, and Nike, up 1.2 per cent. Pfizer was the biggest loser, falling 1.3 per cent.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts jumped 7.8 per cent on news it received an unsolicited US$12.8 billion bid from a consortium led by China's Anbang Insurance Group, challenging Starwood's agreed merger with Marriott International. Marriott rose 3.0 per cent.

The Fresh Market grocery chain surged 23.5 per cent on news it will be acquired by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management for about US$1.4 billion.

GW Pharmaceuticals, which focuses on cannabinoid treatments, soared 120.3 per cent as it announced positive test results for a phase-3 study of its treatment for epileptic seizures.

Tesla Motors jumped 3.7 per cent following an upgrade from Robert W. Baird & Co.


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