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Shares of Hertz and Dollar Thrifty jumped because Hertz announced it would buy its rival. Hertz shares rose 8.1 percent, or $1.06, to $14.21. Dollar Thrifty rose 7.5 percent, or $6.08, to $87.08.

Best Buy climbed 56 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $17.87 after announcing that its founder would be able to pursue his plans to buy the company and take it off the public stock market.

But mostly, trading was quiet. Out of 19 trading days this month, the Dow has moved more than 1 percent only once. On five days it has been virtually flat, moving less than one-tenth of a percentage point.

In Europe, the debt crisis trudged along, but with no real steps forward or back.

The head of Germany’s central bank repeated his opposition to a bond-buying plan that could lower borrowing costs for countries like Spain and Italy but that would require Germany to foot most of the bill.

Germany’s finance minister and economy minister weighed in over the weekend, saying they wouldn’t give Greece more time to make the spending cuts that Germany has demanded.

But none of the comments came as a surprise, and bigger events lie ahead. German courts will decide next month whether Germany is constitutionally allowed to keep participating in bailouts.