On Sunday, Egyptian government officials met with opposition leaders in an effort to end the nearly two weeks of political unrest that has ground normal operations to a halt in Cairo. By Monday, banks had reopened but the stock market remained closed. Japan's Nikkei added 0.5% and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange fell 1.5%. London's FTSE gained 0.8% and the DAX in Frankfurt rose by 0.9%. President Obama in a speech Monday to the Chamber of Commerce urged American businesses to begin investing and creating jobs even as the White House works to make regulations more business friendly and foster innovation. The Federal Reserve said consumers increased their borrowing by $6.1 billion in December to a seasonally adjusted rate of $2.41 trillion, a gain of 3%. Borrowing in the credit card category rose 3.5%, the first advance since 2008. Still, overall borrowing remains 6.6% below the July 2008 peak.
Shares of Loews ( L) surged 4.5% to $43.27 after it reported an adjusted net income of $1.17 versus estimates of 88 cents and said that it was scouting for acquisitions in the energy sector. Shares of Sysco ( SYY), the largest food distributor, fell 6.2% to $28.01 after it said profits fell 4% in the fourth quarter on account of rising food costs. Shares of Chesapeake Energy ( CHK) rose 4% to $31.27 on news that it plans to sell all of its Fayetteville Shale gas assets, as well as its equity investments in Frac Tech Holdings and Chaparral Energy. Shares of AIG ( AIG),Loews and J.C. Penney ( JCP) were among the other prominent gainers on the S&P 500 while Nvidia ( NVDA), Tyson Foods ( TSN) and Weyerhauser ( WY) were notable losers. In commodity markets, the March crude oil contract slid $1.55 to settle at $87.48 a barrel. The most actively traded April gold contract shed 80 cents after rising higher earlier to settle at $1,348.20 an ounce. The dollar index traded flat against a basket of currencies. The benchmark 10-year Treasury fell 3/32, lifting the yield to 3.650%. . --Written by Melinda Peer and Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York.