U.S. stocks saw choppy trading on Monday as crude oil tumbled below $48 a barrel and the energy sector capped any upward momentum.
The S&P 500 was up 0.13%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat, and the Nasdaq gained 0.08%.
Crude oil prices fell on Monday morning as major oil producers failed to reach an agreement to freeze production. Producers outside of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, in particular, made no moves to join an OPEC deal to limit output. OPEC and non-OPEC members met in Vienna on Saturday and agreed to meet again in November.
"While not a surprise after OPEC producers were still divided after Friday discussions, the lack of specific progress is undercutting market confidence that a deal will be reached in time for OPEC's full summit November 30 in Vienna," said Tim Evans, energy futures analyst at Citi.
West Texas Intermediate crude was down 1.7% to $47.89 a barrel on Monday morning.
The energy sector was the weakest performer on markets Monday. Major oil producers including Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report) , Halliburton (HAL - Get Report) , Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A - Get Report) , and Total (TOT - Get Report) moved lower, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE - Get Report) slid 0.3%.
European and Asian exchanges declined following Friday's news the Federal Bureau of Investigation had renewed its probe into U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's emails. U.S. stocks had reacted negatively to the development as news broke late Friday afternoon.
FBI Director James Comey said Friday that a separate investigation had brought up new information in the closed Clinton probe, though did not know whether the new information was material. The FBI had recommended no charges against Clinton in July.
Business activity in the Chicago area weakened in October, according to the latest reading on Chicago PMI. The measure fell to 50.6, its lowest level since May, down from 54.2 in September. Analysts had expected the indicator to strengthen to 54.3.
Consumer spending remained a bright spot for the U.S. economy in September, rebounding from a decline a month earlier. Spending rose 0.5%, while personal income climbed 0.3%. Analysts expected personal income to rise at a slightly stronger pace of 0.4%. The savings rate slipped to 5.7% from 5.8%.
"The September data showed an expected boost in income and spending in September," BNP Paribas' Andrew Schneider wrote in a note. "We expect headline and core PCE inflation to continue to rise, with the latter likely hitting 1.8% year over year in time for the December FOMC meeting."
General Electric (GE - Get Report) moved 1% higher after reaching a deal to combine its oil and gas operations with Baker Hughes (BHI) . Baker Hughes shareholders will receive a special cash dividend worth $7.4 billion and own 37.5% of the new publicly-traded company. GE will own the remainder. The combination allows both companies to better weather a difficult commodities environment as oil prices remain at multi-year lows. Baker Hughes rose slightly.
In other mergers news, Level 3 Communications (LVLT) gained 4% after it agreed to be acquired by CenturyLink (CTL - Get Report) in a deal valued at about $34 billion after including debt. The cash-and-stock deal values Level 3 at a 49% premium to its close on Wednesday when reports emerged of deal talks.
Team Health (TMH) jumped 16% on Monday after agreeing to be acquired by Blackstone (BX - Get Report) in a deal worth roughly $6.1 billion. Private-equity firm Blackstone offered $43.50 a share in cash for TeamHealth, a 33% premium on its closing price in early October before reports of a deal emerged. Activist investor and shareholder Jana Partners approved the deal.
Constellation Brands (STZ - Get Report) agreed Monday to purchase a Grupo Modelo brewery for $600 million. The brewery in Obregon, Mexico, will be used to ramp up production of its Mexican beers. Grupo Modelo is a subsidiary of Belgian beer company Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) .
Southern Co. (SO - Get Report) bested quarterly estimates in its third quarter. The electricity company earned $1.28 a share over its recent quarter, 11 cents higher than expected. Revenue rose 16% to $6.26 billion, besting forecasts by $280 million.
Cardinal Health (CAH - Get Report) increased 5% after topping quarterly estimates, but cutting its outlook. The healthcare services company reported adjusted earnings of $1.24 a share, 3 cents above estimates, while revenue jumped 14% to $32 billion. Cardinal pointed to challenging headwinds for its reduced full-year outlook, particularly in its pharmaceuticals business.
Lumber Liquidators (LL - Get Report) fell 10% after reporting a far wider quarterly loss than expected. The flooring company reported a loss of 68 cents a share, much wider than an anticipated loss of 19 cents a share. The company did show signs of recovery following last year's health and safety scandals. Revenue climbed more than 3%, while comparable-store sales rose 1%. Less promotional activity increased gross margins by 130 basis points to 31.4%.