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US: Stocks tread water as investors eye Harvey damage
[NEW YORK] Wall Street was mostly flat early Monday, with investors looking to gauge the damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey on a key US oil producing region along the Texas coast.
Oil stocks were in focus, with crude futures headed lower on an anticipated drop in demand due to the closure of refineries and wells in the Gulf of Mexico region.
About 10 minutes into the day's trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was little changed, adding less than a tenth of a per centage point over Friday's close at 21,829.59, but then slipped slightly.
The broader S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq were up 0.2 per cent to 2,447.59 and 6,278.78, respectively, before also falling back to essentially flat.
"There should be some active trading in the energy and insurance industries today as market participants trade around their views on the impact of Hurricane Harvey," said Patrick O'Hare of Briefing.com, noting that the Port of Houston also was shut down.
Shares in ExxonMobil added little to the movement on the Dow, rising less than a tenth of a point, while fellow supermajor Chevron gained 0.2 per cent.
Otherwise, there was little cause for stocks to head decisively in any direction ahead of a data heavy week. Official figures on GDP, inflation and employment are due from Wednesday onward.
Nasdaq-listed Gilead Sciences was up 1.9 per cent after announcing it would purchase Kite Pharma for US$11.9 billion. The acquisition target is developing cell therapies for cancer treatment. Kite shares soared 28 per cent.
Investors also were digesting the news that Dara Khosrowshahi, the former head of the travel company Expedia, was tapped to take the helm of ride-hailing service Uber following the tumultuous exit of former CEO Travis Kalanick.
Shares in Expedia were down five per cent on the news, which Uber has not confirmed.