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Overnight Markets: Wall Street little changed as deal news offsets data

Overnight Markets: Wall Street little changed as deal news offsets data

US stocks were little changed on Monday as the latest deal news offset losses following discouraging data on the housing market and some signs of weakness in the services sector.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 22 points or 0.13%, to end at 16,983. The S&P 500 inched up just one point to close at 1,979. The Nasdaq Composite, though, slipped five points or 0.10%, to finish at 4,445.

In deal news, Dollar Tree Inc (DLTR.O) offered to buy rival discount chain Family Dollar Stores Inc (FDO.N) for about $8.5 billion. The transaction, including debt, values Family Dollar at about $9.2 billion. Family Dollar's stock shot up 24.9% and was the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer. Dollar Tree's shares gained 1.2%.

Zillow Inc (Z.O) agreed to acquire Trulia Inc (TRLA.N) for $3.5 billion in stock in a deal that would combine the two most popular US real estate website operators. Trulia's shares jumped 15.4%, while Zillow's stock rose 0.9%.

However, investors' optimism was limited by the day's data. An index of pending home sales unexpectedly fell 1.1% in June, the National Association of Realtors said. The report followed an 8.1% drop of new home sales in June, the biggest slump in almost a year.

Investors also turned their focus to the Fed's meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, when the US central bank's officials could make some subtle changes to their policy statement about how and when they will eventually raise interest rates.

After the bell, Herbalife Ltd (HLF.N) reported a 17% drop in quarterly profit. Shares of the weight-loss and nutrition products company slid 10.2% in extended-hours trading.

During the regular session, the day's most active stocks included El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc (LOCO.O), a restaurant chain that went public late last week. El Pollo Loco leaped 43.5%, extending the rally from Friday, its first day of trading.

In Asia, shares touched fresh three-year highs on Tuesday as investors in the region drew encouragement from a rally in Chinese markets, though caution was widespread given the torrent of US economic news still to come this week.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.2% to be just a whisker from a peak last touched in April 2011. Likewise, South Korea's index gained 0.6% to its highest since mid-2011.

Japan's Nikkei rose 0.4% to a six-month high as investors focused on the positive in some mixed economic news.

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