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U.S. stocks started mildly higher on Monday as a new round of corporate deals helped bolster sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 17 points to 10,583. The S&P 500 Index rose a point to 1,140 and the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 2 points to 2,329. Metlife is performing well, up 5% after agreeing to buy an AIG unit over the weekend for $15.5 billion. The financials and insurance stocks are breaking out. Goldman Sachs looks good. SEI Investment is up 5% on an upgrade. Fifth Third is down a percent on a downgrade. In the tech sector, RF Micro Devices is higher after raising their numbers. Cisco Systems, EMC, Yahoo, and Research in Motion are higher on upgrades. Google was upgraded, but the stock is lower. Apple made a new high this morning. The commodities are performing well. U.S. Steel and Potash are higher on upgrades. Within the Dow Jones, Disney is modestly higher on an upgrade. McDonalds is up 2% on better than expected February sales numbers. The retailers continue to perform well. Dicks and J. Crew are both higher on upgrades. After the first hour the averages remained in the green. So far so good. Through the morning the Dow gave up their gains. The Nasdaq is clinging to gains. Current stocks continue to improve like Research in Motion, Goldman Sachs, Imax, Metlife, and Potash. The healthcare stocks are lower as President Obama attacks the insurers. Volume is light. In the afternoon the averages did not gyrate much from the unchanged level. Only a select number of stocks are outperforming. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 13 points at 10,552. After six sessions of gains, the S&P 500 Index lost a point to end at 1,138. The Nasdaq Composite rose 5 points to 2,332.
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