Stocks Flat After Six Weeks of Increases, Interrupted by Europe
Both the Dow and S&P 500 pulled back after finishing within shouting distance of their 2012 closing highs of 13,279 and 1,419, respectively, on Friday. At the same time, both indices were also nearing multi-year highs dating back to May 2008 before the financial crisis kicked in.
"The suggestion here is that no major program will be announced any time soon, despite what European Central Bank President Mario Draghi suggested at the European Central Bank policy meeting on Aug. 2," said Christopher Vecchio, currency analyst at DailyFX, about the Bundesbank commentary.
There were no major U.S. economic releases scheduled for Monday, but events later this week include the release of the minutes from the most recent Fed policy meeting at the end of July and initial jobless claims on Thursday.
Key upcoming events abroad include the HSBC flash manufacturing purchasing managers data for China on Wednesday, and German economic growth figures and a meeting in Berlin of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande to discuss the euro crisis on Thursday. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is also expected to meet with European leaders later this week.
On the corporate front, shares of Lowe's(LOW) closed down 5.8% after the home-improvement retailer posted second-quarter earnings of 64 cents a share on revenue of $14.25 billion, missing Wall Street's consensus on both the top and bottom lines.
Best Buy(BBY) was also in focus after the Minneapolis-based consumer electronics retailer named named Hubert Joly as its chief executive officer following a busy weekend of jousting with founder Richard Schulze regarding his efforts to take the company private. Joly previously served as CEO of hospitality and restaurant giant Carlson, whose businesses include the restaurant chain TGI Friday's. The stock lost 10.4%.
Monday's big deal was in the insurance space as Aetna(AET) agreed to purchase Coventry Health Care( CVH ) in a transaction valued at $7.3 billion, including the assumption of debt. The deal valued Coventry shares at $42.08 in cash and Aetna stock as of Friday's close, a 20% premium. Aetna shares finished up 5.6%, while Coventry's stock jumped 20.3%.