Wall Street kicked off the session with uncertain trading before turning modestly higher and snapping a two-day losing streak for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500.
The Dow was up 0.07%, the S&P 500 rose 0.10% and the Nasdaq gained 0.10%.
The Dow had finished Friday, Nov. 11, lower in its first weekly decline after eight straight weeks of gains. Even so, the two days of losses didn't pull the index too far from its records -- the index remained less than 200 points from an all-time closing high set on Nov. 8. The S&P 500 also fell on Friday in its first weekly loss in nine weeks.
Stocks had pulled back on concerns the path to tax cuts could be bumpier than initially expected. Doubts were raised late last week after details of the Senate's tax plans conflicted with the House GOP's proposed legislation.
The House is expected to bring a vote for its Tax Cut and Job Acts bill to the floor this week and it looks likely it will pass. The proposed bill will likely pull between 225 and 230 Republican votes, according to estimates from The Hill. The bill needs 218 votes to pass.
Indexes managed gains even as General Electric Co. (GE) posted its worst performance since 2009. The industrials company slumped after announcing it was cutting its quarterly dividend by 50% to 12 cents from 24 cents a share, its second cut since the Great Depression. The Boston-based company last reduced the quarterly payout in 2009 -- before then, it had not done so since 1938. The dividend cut should save roughly $4 billion annually.
The company also reduced its full-year adjusted earnings estimates for 2018 to $1 to $1.07 a share, down from a previous $2 a share. Analysts had expected full-year earnings of $1.16 a share. A forecast for industrial free cash flow of $6 billion to $7 billion was at least double an expected $3 billion this year. GE anticipates 2018 organic revenue to come in flat to up 3%.
General Electric said it plans to exit the locomotives and industrial lighting markets and will consider shedding its controlling stake in Baker Hughes.
- GE's Flannery to Sell Locomotives Business, May Exit Baker Hughes
- GE to Save About $4 Billion With Second Dividend Cut in a Decade
Other industrial stocks in the red included United Technologies Corp. (UTX) , Union Pacific Corp. (UNP) , Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and Northrop Gumman Corp. (NOC) . The iShares S&P Global Industrials Sector ETF (EXI) declined 0.66%.
Walmart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) , both Dow components, led consumer names higher on Monday. Walmart, the world's largest retailer, is scheduled to report earnings on Thursday, Nov. 16. The company is expected to report same-store sales and revenue growth.
Non-cyclical consumer stock Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) was also higher on Monday after exceeding profit and sales estimates over its recent quarter. Fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $1.43 a share beat analysts' targets by a nickel. Revenue surged nearly 11% to $10.15 billion, $260 million above consensus. Total sales volume increased 3.2%. Chicken sales rose 8%, beef 9.5%, pork 10%, and prepared foods 23%.
Other consumer staples stocks on the rise included Edgewell Personal Care Co. (EPC) , B&G Foods Inc. (BGS) , Estee Lauder Cos. (EL) , Hostess Brands Inc. (TWNK) and J.M. Smucker Co. (SJM) . The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP) increased 0.57%.
Crude oil prices inched higher on Monday after crude oil production among Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries fell and growth forecasts rose. OPEC production fell to 32.59 million barrels a day in October, down by 151,000 barrels a day from September, according to the cartel's monthly report. Lower production in Venezuela, Iraq, Nigeria and Iran was partly responsible for the decline. An OPEC production cut agreement is set to expire in March 2018, though some members have expressed a willingness to extend the agreement.
West Texas Intermediate crude added two cents to $56.76 a barrel on Monday.
Despite gains in crude oil, energy stocks were among the worst performers on markets Monday. Small-cap names such as ENSCO PLC (ESV) , QEP Resources Inc. (QEP) , SemGroup Corp. (SEMG) , Extraction Oil & Gas Inc. (XOG) , and Wildhorse Resource Development Corp. (WRD) were lower. The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) decreased 0.59%.
In deal news, Qualcomm (QCOM) has rejected rival Broadcom Ltd.'s (AVGO) $103 billion takeover. The chipmaker said the deal "dramatically" undervalues its worth and also faces too much uncertainty over whether it can pass regulatory muster. Broadcom had offered $70 a share.
- Qualcomm Could Rally Another 15% Despite Record Broadcom Buyout Offer
- Broadcom's Bid for Qualcomm May Be Biggest Chip Deal Ever, but Won't Be the Last
Mattel Inc. (MAT) surged 20% following multiple media reports of a takeover approach from rival Hasbro Inc. (HAS) . Hasbro's market cap of around $11.5 billion could likely absorb a takeover of Mattel, which has seen a nearly 50% collapse in its share price this year amid a fast-changing retail market that has already claimed rival Toy R Us by way of a September bankruptcy filing. Hasbro's approach to Mattel was made recently, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.
Brookfield Property Partners LP (BPY) confirmed its plans to purchase GGP Inc. (GGP) . Brookfield already owns around 34% of GGP -- this deal would see it purchase the shares it does not already own. Brookfield approached GGP's board with an offer on Saturday which values the company at $21.8 billion. Bermuda-based Brookfield seeks to buy GGP for $23 a share in a cash-and-stock deal.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) finished lower and JD.com Inc. (JD) ended higher on Monday after notching $25 billion and $19 billion, respectively, over China's 'Singles' Day' shopping event on Saturday, Nov. 11.
Separately, JD.com posted an unexpected profit over its recent quarter. In the three months to September, JD earned 1 billion yuan, a record high, and far better than an expected loss. Revenue increased 39%.
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