* BlackBerry abandons sale plans, to replace CEO
* Weyerhaeuser to sell homebuilding unit for $2.7 bln
* U.S. factory orders fall more than expected
* Indexes: Dow 0.1 pct, S&P 0.1 pct, Nasdaq off 0.01 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Nov 4 U.S. stocks edged modestly
higher on Monday in the wake of data showing that business
spending dropped sharply in September and amid uncertainty over
how soon the Federal Reserve would be comfortable enough with
growth to begin scaling back stimulus.
U.S.-listed shares of Blackberry tumbled 10 percent
to $6.99 after the smartphone maker said it was abandoning a
plan to sell itself and instead, would replace its chief
The benchmark S&P index has risen 4.3 percent over
the prior four weeks as the partial U.S. government shutdown in
October pushed back expectations for the Federal Reserve to
begin curtailing its stimulus measures into the first quarter of
Indeed, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard
told CNBC television the Fed should not rush a decision to scale
back its asset purchase program because of low inflation.
Data on Monday showed new orders of non-military capital
goods other than aircraft, an indicator of business spending
plans, fell 1.3 percent during September, a sign that companies
had cut investment plans sharply as politicians argued over the
budget and debt limit.
But recent manufacturing data has been stronger than
expected, lending weight to the argument that the economy may be
sturdy enough to handle an earlier-than-expected tapering of the
central bank's bond-buying program, which has helped buoy growth
and the equity market for much of the year.
"In some ways you could say 'mission accomplished' for the
Fed," said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at
OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.
"By broaching that (tapering) story early, yes they did have
a fall off but now the markets adapted to it - they know it must
end and it probably will end soon."
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 12.86 points,
or 0.08 percent, to 15,628.41, the S&P 500 gained 1.69
points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,763.33 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 0.201 points, or 0.01 percent, to 3,921.841.
Weyerhaeuser Co gained 0.3 percent to $30.44 after
the company said it would sell its homebuilding division to Tri
Pointe Homes Inc in a $2.7 billion deal that will leave
Weyerhaeuser shareholders in control of one of the 10 largest
homebuilders in the United States. Tri Pointe shares jumped 11.4
percent to $17.13.
Kellogg Co advanced 4 percent to $64.76 after the
cereal maker reported a 3 percent rise in quarterly profit, and
said it would slash 7 percent of its workforce by 2017.