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Markets Close Flat as Investors Await Retailer Earnings

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Markets closed flat on Monday as investors await earnings reports from major retailers that may offer signals about the strength of the U.S. economic recovery and clues as to whether the Federal Reserve will begin curbing its 
monetary stimulus program. 


Wal-Mart (WMT), Nordstrom (JWN) and Macy's (M) are scheduled to issue their quarterly earnings reports later this week.

The S&P 500 tacked on 0.07% to close at 1,771.87 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.13% to 15,782.91. The Nasdaq inched up 0.01% to 3,919.79.

Transocean 
(RIG) gained 3.6% to $55.37 as the world's largest drilling contractor reached an agreement with Carl Icahn to pay a dividend and reduce the number of seats on its board. Transocean said Monday it agreed to pay a dividend of $3 a share. Icahn, whose firm owns a stake of 5.6% in Transocean, pressed for a dividend of $4 a share, according to Reuters. The maximum number of directors on the board will be reduced to 11 from 14, Transocean said.

Macy's shares rose 1.9% to $47.07 ahead of its results on Wednesday. The Cincinnati-based retailer posted a 0.8% drop in comparable stores in the second quarter, a decline that management tied to tepid overall consumer demand. 

Twitter (TWTR) shares gained 3% to $42.90. The stock rallied nearly 73% on its first day of trading on Nov. 7.

Oil futures for the December contract added 54 cents to $95.14 a barrel, while gold for December delivery dropped $3.50 to settle at $1,281.10 an ounce. The U.S. Dollar was dropping 0.17% to $81.06, according to the U.S. dollar index. Bond markets were closed in observance of Veteran's Day.

The S&P 500 rose 0.51% last week following uplifting reports on the U.S. labor market in October and third-quarter economic expansion. This helped propel the Dow to a record closing high on Friday. Furthermore, the European Central Bank last week cut its benchmark interest rate in a bid to stimulate growth.

The FTSE 100 in London rose 0.29%, while the DAX in Germany was higher by 0.33%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed higher by 1.43% while the Nikkei 225 in Japan increased 1.30%.

--By Jane Searle and Joe Deaux in New York

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