Monday, November 15, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were mixed in quiet trading yesterday, with blue-chip and technology shares rising only modestly despite lower oil prices and several mergers and acquisitions, including Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.’s $1.5 billion bid for several candy brands from Kraft Foods Inc.

The pullback in energy prices and pickup in mergers and acquisition activity were encouraging to analysts, who were not distressed by the day’s lackluster trading. After three solid weeks of gains, and in the absence of any new economic data, it’s natural for investors to take a step back.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 11.23, or 0.11 percent, at 10,550.24, after a gain of 1.46 percent last week.

The broader gauges were narrowly mixed. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 0.36, or 0.03 percent, at 1,183.81, following a 1.54 percent rise. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 8.75, or 0.42 percent, to 2,094.09, after a weekly gain of 2.28 percent.

Oil prices dropped, continuing a three-week trend that has taken crude futures down from their record $55-per-barrel level. Light, sweet crude for December delivery shed 52 cents to $46.87 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Investors were also weighing the resignations of four members of President Bush’s Cabinet fsince the election, including Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

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