Wall Street gained slightly on Monday, supported by a flurry of corporate deals and growth in American manufacturing, but turmoil in Iraq drove oil prices up and kept trading choppy.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose five points or 0.03%, to end at 16,781. The S&P 500 gained two points or 0.08%, to 1,938. The Nasdaq Composite added 10 points or 0.24%, to 4,321.
Energy stocks gained the most yesterday after crude oil futures rose in choppy trading as advances by Sunni insurgents in Iraq fed concerns about a potential disruption to oil exports from the second-largest OPEC producer.
Brent crude for August delivery LCOc1 rose 48 cents to settle at $112.94 a barrel, off an intraday high of $113.28.
The US said it is considering air strikes and cooperation with its arch-enemy, Iran, to help the Iraqi government fend off an Islamist insurgency.
Economic data showed manufacturing output increased in May and factory activity in New York State accelerated sharply this month, buoying hopes of a strong rebound in economic growth this quarter.
On the merger front, medical device maker Medtronic Inc agreed to buy Dublin-based Covidien Plc for $42.9 billion and shift its executive headquarters to Ireland in the latest move by US companies to take advantage of lower tax rates abroad. Medtronic shares slid 1.1%. In contrast, Covidien's stock shot up 20.5%.
Williams Companies jumped 18.7% after the pipeline operator said it agreed to acquire control of Access Midstream Partners LP for $5.99 billion as the first step toward merging it with its operations.
Level 3 Communications said it would buy Internet services provider tw telecom Inc for $40.86 per share in a cash-and-stock deal. Level 3 shares fell 4.1%, while tw telecom's stock rose 7.3%.
Fusion-io Inc (FIO.N) soared 22.4% after SanDisk Corp said it will buy the company for about $1.1 billion to boost its flash storage drive business. SanDisk rose 3.6%.
In Asia, shares oscillated between gains and losses as a decline in energy shares countered gains by drugmakers.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed at 144 as of 9:55 a.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix index rose 0.6% as the yen weakened to 102 per dollar. South Korea’s Kospi index climbed 0.3% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.2%. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.2%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.3%, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.5%.