Stocks mixed on Japan |

Stocks mixed on Japan

The Associated Press

Despite a day of mostly listless trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index managed to notch another all-time high.

The index Monday inched past its most recent record-high close set Friday, extending its gain for the year to 10.4 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended higher, having briefly eclipsed its most recent high. The Nasdaq composite ended lower.

The major stock indexes mostly hovered between small gains and losses as investors weighed the implications of an economic slowdown in Japan that worsened in the third quarter into a recession. Energy stocks fell as the price of crude oil resumed its slide.

“Japan definitely started us on a bit of a negative tone with the economy back into recession,” said Chris Gaffney, senior market strategist at EverBank Wealth Management.

The major stock indexes started off in negative territory early in the day as the markets reacted to data showing the world’s third-largest economy unexpectedly shrank at a 1.6 percent annual pace in the third quarter after contracting 7.1 percent the previous quarter.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei stock index lost 3 percent.

U.S. markets veered lower much of the morning. By afternoon, though, stocks began to pare some of their losses as traders cheered several pieces of corporate deal news.

Shares in Botox-maker Allergan and oilfield services company Baker Hughes were among the biggest gainers.

In the end, the S&P rose 1.50 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,041.32. That’s just ahead of its high close of 2,039.82 on Friday.

The Dow gained 13.01 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,647.75. The Nasdaq composite fell 17.54 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,671.

The three major stock indexes are up for the year.

Stocks have been mostly rising since Oct. 15, when the S&P 500 nearly fell into a “correction,” a trading term for a drop of 10 percent or more from a recent peak.

Generally strong corporate earnings results and solid domestic economic data have helped blunt the impact of global economic uncertainty.

Six of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 ended lower, with energy stocks falling most. Utilities rose the most.

Among stocks making big moves:

• Pharmaceutical giant Actavis agreed to buy Allergan for $66 billion. Allergan shares surged 5.3 percent, gaining $10.55 to $209.20. Actavis added $4.17, or 1.7 percent, to $247.94.

• Baker Hughes jumped 8.9 percent on agreeing to be acquired by Halliburton in a deal worth $34.6 billion in cash and stock. Baker Hughes rose $5.34 to $65.23. Halliburton fell $5.85, or 10.6 percent, to $49.23.

• DreamWorks Animation slid 14.3 percent with word that talks between the animation studio and toy maker Hasbro have faded, dimming the likelihood that Hasbro will buy the studio.

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