Stocks Mixed Ahead of Inflation Data

Stocks were mixed Monday as investors turned cautious ahead of Tuesday’s consumer inflation data, but blue chips got a modest boost from the private equity takeover of Chrysler.

Economists are looking for a 0.5% rise in the CPI and a 0.2% increase after food and energy prices are factored out, while investors are hoping for a repeat of Friday’s tame wholesale inflation report.

Earnings will also be back in focus this week, with Dow components Wal-Mart and Home Depot reporting tomorrow morning, Applied Materials reporting tomorrow night and HP releasing its results after the close on Wednesday.

AMAT climbed 3.6% today ahead of its earnings report. HP previewed its better than expected results last week.

Also on Monday, AMD gained 4% on plans for new graphics and quad core chips and an American Technology Research upgrade.

Nokia rose on news of market share gains.

eCollege and Inforte climbed on takeover offers.

Cellcom Israel gained 10% on its results, while QAD fell 17% on its earnings report.

The Nasdaq fell 16 to 2546, the S&P 500 lost 2 to 1503, and the Dow rose 20 to 13,346. Volume rose to 2.78 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.08 billion on the Nasdaq. Declining issues led by a 20-11 margin on the NYSE, and 20-9 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 58% on the NYSE, and 62% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 143-27 on the NYSE, and 122-85 on the Nasdaq.

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