Wall Street wandered through a listless session Monday, finishing little changed as investors cast aside upbeat earnings at Wal-Mart Stores...
NEW YORK — Wall Street wandered through a listless session Monday, finishing little changed as investors cast aside upbeat earnings at Wal-Mart Stores and Lowe’s ahead of critical inflation and spending data later this week.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 11.13 to 10,697.17.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, rose 0.07 cents to close at $27.35. Boeing, also a Dow stock. climbed 0.88 cents to close at $66.23 a share.
Strong results from Wal-Mart and Lowe’s came as a sign that consumers are still spending despite the recent spike in energy costs, brightening the holiday sales outlook. A pair of multibillion-dollar acquisitions also helped the market’s mood: Georgia-Pacific is being taken private and Host Marriott is buying 38 upscale hotels. But with key government data on inflation and retail sales due this week, investors are waiting for indications of whether higher costs are driving up prices on consumer goods, said John Forelli, portfolio manager at Independence Investments.
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Broader stock indicators were lower. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.96 to 1,233.76, and the Nasdaq composite index lost 1.52 to 2,200.95.
Koch Industries has offered to buy Georgia-Pacific for $13.2 billion in cash, forming the nation’s largest private company with annual sales of about $80 billion. Georgia-Pacific jumped $12.63 to $47.28.
Host Marriott is paying Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide $3.3 billion to acquire 38 domestic and overseas properties under the Westin, Sheraton, W Hotel, Luxury Collection and St. Regis banners. Host Marriott slid 79 cents to $16.65, while Starwood rose 76 cents to $60.02.
In earnings news, Wal-Mart reported a 4 percent increase in third-quarter profit — matching analysts’ expectations — with sales adding 10 percent despite the setback dealt by hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Wal-Mart gained 30 cents to $49.30.
Lowe’s said its earnings swelled 26 percent and beat Wall Street estimates by 4 cents per share, helped by 17 percent sales growth. Lowe’s climbed $2.92 to $64.89.