Investing.com - U.S. stocks were mixed to lower on Monday, ahead of U.S. data as markets were jittery before the Federal Reserve's highly anticipated policy-setting meeting this week, amid ongoing uncertainty over the future of the central bank's monetary stimulus program.
During early U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.23%, the S&P 500 index edged down 0.22%, while the Nasdaq Composite index inched 0.02% higher.
Markets were jittery as a string of mixed U.S. economic reports last week fuelled further uncertainty over whether the Fed will soon begin to scale back its bond-buying program.
On Friday, the University of Michigan said its index of consumer sentiment ticked up to 85.1 in July from a reading of 83.9 the previous month, beating expectations for a rise to 84.0.
The data came a day after the Labor Department said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits the previous week increased by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 343,000, compared to expectations for an increase of 6,000 to 340,000.
In the tech sector, Dell dropped 0.70% after founder Michael Dell said he won't raise his buyout offer for the company and admitted that he had agreed to a method of counting shareholder votes that "does not make sense," according to a Bloomberg report.
Last week, Michael Dell and partner Silver Lake Management raised their offer by a dime to USD13.75 a share, providing that the company's special committee agreed to change the rules so that nonvoters wouldn't count as opposing the deal.
Adding to losses, Amazon.com shares slid 0.30%, following reports the online retailer is planning to boost staff in 17 U.S. warehouses, adding more than 5,000 full-time jobs to meet increasing demand for the company's products.
On the upside, Rockwood Holdings, the world's largest producer of lithium products, jumped 1.17% after saying it will sell its clay-based additives business to Germany's Altana for USD635 million.
In the same sector, Perrigo, a U.S. maker of over-the-counter medicines, reportedly agreed to buy Irish drug company Elan Corp. for USD8.6 billion to gain a low-tax base for international expansion. Perrigo shares plunged 4.05% following the news.
Among earnings, hotel and casino operator Wynn Resorts missed market expectations, but shares were still up 0.78%.
Other stocks likely to be in focus included Hertz, Express Scripts, Hartford Financial and Herbalife, all scheduled to post results later in the day.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 added 0.22%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.38%, Germany's DAX edged up 0.18%, while Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.19%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index retreated 0.54%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index plunged 3.32%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to produce industry data on pending home sales.
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