NEW YORK – Stocks were mixed in quiet trading Monday as investors sat on the sidelines waiting to see where the Federal Reserve might move interest rates next month. Energy stocks fell along with the price of crude oil.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 44 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,545 as of 2:36 p.m. ET. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose less than two points to 2,054 and the Nasdaq composite rose 13 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,783.
Several members of the Federal Reserve will be making speeches this week, which may give insight to investors on which way interest rates might move at the Fed’s meeting in June. The minutes from the Fed’s late April meeting showed that policymakers at the nation’s central bank seem to believe the U.S. economy has improved enough to warrant higher interest rates.
“Very quiet today,” Ryan Larson, head of U.S. equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management, wrote in response to an email query from AP. “The hesitation seems to directly related to what the Fed may or may not do come its June meeting.”
Securities that bet on which way the Fed will move interest rates now show a 26 percent chance that interest rates will climb.
Agricultural products company Monsanto rose $5.09, or 5 percent, to $106.60 after German company Bayer offered to buy the company for $62 billion. The deal would make the combined company the world’s largest producer of fertilizers and other agricultural products.
Tribune Publishing fell $2.17, or 15 percent, to $12.06 after the newspaper company rejected a new takeover offer from Gannett. The company also announced a new investor, who bought a $70 million stake in Tribune.
Benchmark U.S. crude shed 41 cents to $48 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 48 cents to $48.24 a barrel in London. Energy stocks followed oil prices lower.
U.S. government bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.83 percent from 1.84 percent. The dollar fell to 109.16 yen from 110.23 yen and the euro fell to $1.1225 from $1.1219.
Precious and industrial metals futures closed mostly lower. Gold lost $1.40 to $1,251.50 an ounce, silver fell 11 cents to $16.42 an ounce and copper was little changed at $2.06 a pound.