U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday, despite news of a shooting in the nation's capital. Weaker-than-expected economic data reduced concerns about potential interest rate hikes. Bobbi Rebell reports.
A shooting in the nation's capital of Washington, D.C., kept U.S. markets on alert Monday afternoon, but the major indexes showed little reaction by the closing bell, finishing the day little changed. Consumer stocks battled to offset the decline in energy and utilities stocks. Volume was tepid following the Easter holiday weekend. The holding pattern will likely continue, says Keith Bliss of Cuttone & Co. (SOUNDBITE) KEITH BLISS, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CUTTONE & COMPANY (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think right now, the market is going to probably going to just meander here for the next couple of sessions 'til we get into next week, and we're going to start pulling apart those earnings reports." Weak economic data suggested the Fed could remain cautious about raising interest rates soon. Consumer spending barely budged last month and January's data was revised downward. Inflation retreated. And the trade deficit widened in February. Marriott among the S&P 500's biggest gainers Monday. China's Anbang Insurance challenged Marriott's bid for Starwood Hotels by upping its offer to nearly $14 billion. Starwood shares also rose. Avon struck a deal with activist shareholders Barington and others to avoid a proxy fight. The cosmetics maker gave them the right to approve a new independent director. In Europe, a drop in mining and energy shares pulled stocks down for a fourth straight session.