Updated from 9:38 a.m. EST

A day before the U.S. elects a new president, stocks on Wall Street were experiencing mixed trading Monday, as traders digested news of several merger setbacks prepared for another week full of quarterly

earnings statements

and turned their eyes toward Tuesday's

election

.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was lower by 4.1 points at 9321, and the

S&P 500

was down fractionally at 969. The

Nasdaq

gained 4.8 points to 1726.

Financial-sector turmoil continued to hold investors' attention.

The Wall Street Journal

reported that as many as 1,800 public companies could be signing up for investments by the

Treasury Department

under the

Troubled Asset Relief Program

.

Meanwhile, leveraged-buyout firm

Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts

was delaying plans to come public as the credit crisis hurt its capitalization standing. KKR said in a statement it would hold off on buying Amsterdam-listed

KKR Private Equity

until next year.

Insurance company

Hartford Services Group

(HIG) - Get Report

said in a filing with the

Securities Exchange Commission

that it had more than enough capital to keep its double-A credit rating at year-end.

In other merger news,

The Detroit News

reported that

Cerberus Capital

, which owns

Chrysler

, has ceased discussions with

Nissan-Renault

because Cerberus intends on merging with

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

.

Agricultural products maker

Monsanto

(MON)

announced its intent to buy Brazilian firm

Aly Participacoes

for $290 million.

Less fortunate among agricultural names was

Verasun Energy

(VSE)

, which said late Friday it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Soft-drink maker

PepsiCo

(PEP) - Get Report

announced it would invest $1 billion in China over the next four years in an effort to gain a foothold in emerging markets.

Airplane manufacturer

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

announced that a strike by the International Association of Machinists had ended after the company and union signed a four-year contract.

As for earnings, insurer

PMI Group

(PMI)

reported a wider third-quarter loss, and

Goodyear Tire

(GT) - Get Report

announced a decline in quarterly profit.

In terms of economic data, the Census Bureau reported that construction spending for September declined 0.3%, down from a 0.3% increase in August. Economists were expecting spending to decrease by 0.8%. The Institute for Supply Management's October manufacturing index showed a reading of 38.9, down from 43.5 in September and below economists' forecast of 42.

The European Commission also reported that Europe is probably in a recession and will continue to struggle through the next year.

Shifting to commodities, crude oil was losing $1.77 to $66.04 a barrel. Gold was climbing $12.90 to $731.10 an ounce.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were mixed. The 10-year was up 10/32, yielding 3.93%. The 30-year was dropping 11/32 to yield 4.35%. The dollar was falling vs. the yen but gaining on the euro and pound.

Credit markets were loosening. Three-month dollar Libor, a measure of the rate banks charge one another for large loans, was down 17 basis points to 2.86%. Overnight Libor slipped 2 basis points to 0.39%.

Abroad, European exchanges were mixed, as the FTSE in London lost ground but the Dax held to a fractional gain. In

Asia

, Japan's Nikkei was closed for a holiday, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished on the upside.

(

Photo gallery: Trading Faces

)