* BlackBerry soars; company exploring strategic options
* Options activity shows near-term hedging increasing:
* Trading volume at about 4.9 bln shares
* Indexes: Dow flat; S&P off 0.1 pct; Nasdaq up 0.3 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Aug 12 The Dow and the S&P 500 indexes
dipped on Monday, extending losses from Wall Street's worst week
since June last week, but Apple and BlackBerry kept the Nasdaq
Trading volume was light, marking one of the five days this
year with fewer than 5 billion shares traded over a full
session. Many traders are away on holiday in August, amplifying
market swings, and the earnings period is drawing to a close as
the market enters a seasonally slow period.
But hedging activity picked up in the options market as
traders brace for a short-term decline in equities, according to
"While we're seeing increased near-term hedging going into
September's (Federal Reserve) meeting, the option market is
becoming more constructive on the medium-term market outlook,"
said Mandy Xu, equity derivatives strategist at Credit Suisse in
Fed stimulus has helped fuel the S&P's gain of nearly 19
percent in 2013. The Fed is seen as moving toward reducing
its$85 billion in monthly bond purchases, causing some investors
to take a step back from stocks.
Some Fed officials have said the U.S. central bank could
begin scaling back its quantitative easing next month if the
economy continues to improve.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 5.83
points, or 0.04 percent, at 15,419.68. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 1.95 points, or 0.12 percent, at 1,689.47.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 9.84 points, or 0.27
percent, at 3,669.95.
U.S.-listed shares of smartphone maker BlackBerry
rose 10.5 percent to $10.78 after the company said it had set up
a committee to explore a possible sale or partnership. The stock
was the most actively traded on Nasdaq on Monday.
Shares of Apple Inc, the world's largest
technology company, rose 2.8 percent to $467.36 after technology
blog AllThingsD reported the company is expected to present its
redesigned iPhone in September.
Steinway Musical Instruments, the manufacturer of
pianos, saxophones and trumpets, said it received a
$38-per-share buyout offer from an investment firm it did not
identify, topping an earlier bid by Kohlberg & Co. Shares of
Steinway rose 9.3 percent to $39.59.
Vical Inc shares plummeted 57 percent to $1.53
after the company said it would stop developing cancer therapy
Allovectin after a late-stage trial failed. The stock was one of
the most actively traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Tesla Motors Inc dipped 3.7 percent to $147.38
after Lazard downgraded the stock.
Other decliners were commercial real estate companies
including Prologis, down 1.6 percent at $37.68 and BRE
Properties, down 0.9 percent at $50.27.
Volume was roughly 4.9 billion shares traded on the New York
Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, below the average
daily closing volume of about 6.36 billion this year.
On the NYSE, advancing stocks beat decliners by 1,626 to
1,364. On the Nasdaq, advancing stocks beat decliners by 1,430