Stocks Drag Themselves Out of the Gate - TheStreet

Stocks Drag Themselves Out of the Gate

The Dow and S&P were both off slightly after the bell, and the Nasdaq was up a half-point.
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Updated from 7:59 a.m. EDT

Stocks in the U.S. were little changed at the open Monday as traders appeared hesitant to move following a recovery in the prior session.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was off 12 points to 12,975, and the

S&P 500

slipped about a point at 1425. The

Nasdaq Composite

was up a half-point to 2529.

Last time out, stocks clawed their way up from big early losses despite a day replete with bad news, and blue chips finished about where they started.

On the corporate front Monday,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

, which earlier this month dropped its attempts to take out

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

, over the weekend presented the Internet-portal operator with a

new deal

that would not constitute an outright acquisition. The software giant added, however, that it "reserves the right to reconsider" another buyout offer.

The development comes amid billionaire investor Carl Icahn's looming threat to nominate 10 people to Yahoo!'s board. Icahn recently began amassing large amounts of Yahoo! shares, saying the company acted "irrationally" in turning down Microsoft's sweetened takeout bid earlier this month. Microsoft was down 0.4% in recent premarket trading, while Yahoo! was roughly flat.

Microsoft shares shed 0.6% as Yahoo! added 2.2%.

American Axle Manufacturing

(AXL) - Get Report

last Friday

struck a tentative agreement

with the United Autoworkers that would end a costly strike. American Axle is a key supplier to supplier to automaker

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

, shares of which were up more than 1%.

In earnings, home-improvement retailer

Lowe's

(LOW) - Get Report

said early Monday its first-quarter profit plunged 17.9% to $607 million, or 41 cents a share, a penny better than the average analyst estimate from Thomson Reuters. Same-store sales, or those from stores open a year or more, slid 8.4%. Shares were down 2.5%.

On the data side, at 10:00 a.m. EDT the Conference Board is scheduled to issue April's leading indicators, a collection of mostly previously released economic data.

As for commodities, crude oil was rising 43 cents to $126.63 a barrel, and gold futures were up $13.30 at $913.20 an ounce. The U.S. dollar weakened against both the euro and the yen.

Treasury prices were creeping higher. The 10-year note was up 1/32 in price to yield 3.84%, and the 30-year bond climbed 5/32 in price, yielding 4.56%.

Markets abroad were mostly rising. In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 0.4% overnight, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was ahead by 0.5%. Among European bourses, the FTSE 100 in London and Germany's Xetra Dax tacked on 0.2% and 0.5%, respectively. The Paris Cac gained 0.3%.