Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK - Stocks closed mixed Monday as traders waited for this week's election results and more details about the Federal Reserve's plan to stimulate the economy.
Stocks rose early in the day following reports of unexpected growth in the manufacturing industry in both the U.S. and China last month. Manufacturing expanded at its fastest pace in five months, according to the Institute for Supply Management. The group said that its industry index rose to 56.9 in October from 54.4 in September. Any number above 50 indicates growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 125 points, led by manufacturers Caterpillar Inc., United Technologies Corp. and General Electric Co.
But stocks were unable to hold on to their gains ahead of the election and the two-day Fed meeting that starts Tuesday. The Dow fell steadily throughout the day, briefly turning lower before a late rally gave it a modest advance.
The Dow rose 6.13, or 0.1 percent, to finish at 11,124.62
The broad Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.12, or 0.1 percent, to 1,184.38, while the technology-focused Nasdaq composite index fell 2.57, or 0.1 percent, to 2,504.84.
In one sign of the mixed day in the stock market, half the industries that make up the Standard and Poor's 500 index fell, while the other half rose. Intel Corp. rose 2.5 percent to lead the 30 companies in the Dow, while Kraft Foods Inc. was the index's laggard with a 1.5 percent decline.
Investors have been assuming the Fed will launch a new program of buying Treasury bonds to help stimulate the economy. Stocks rose for much of October because investors expect the Fed will announce as early as Wednesday that it plans to buy government debt in an effort to spark consumer spending and bank lending. Only in the last few days has the market rally trailed off amid questions about exactly how much the Fed will spend to buy bonds. The Dow rose 3.1 percent in October, including a 0.1 percent drop last week.
Lower interest rates weaken returns on debt, which would make stocks and commodities more attractive investments since their potential return would be significantly higher.
Bond prices fell following the strong manufacturing report. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 2.63 percent from 2.60 percent late Friday.
The dollar rose 0.28 percent against a broad basket of currencies. The Euro Stoxx 50, which tracks the performance of blue chip stocks in Europe, fell 1 point to 2,541.77. China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.5 percent, or 75.1, to 3,054.02.
The number of falling and rising shares were about even on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated trading volume came to a light 3.9 billion shares.