* Bond markets shut for holiday; market volume light
* Friday's jobs data prompts more speculation about Fed
* Transocean reaches deal with Icahn over dividend
* News Corp shares down after the bell
* Dow up 0.1 pct; S&P 500 up 0.1 pct; Nasdaq up 0.01 pct
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Nov 11 U.S. stocks edged up on Monday,
lifting the Dow to another record closing high in light volume
on Veterans Day while investors turned their focus to how soon
the Federal Reserve may begin reducing stimulus.
Although stocks closed higher on Friday, a robust October
jobs report rekindled expectations that the Fed may reduce its
stimulus efforts sooner than expected. A Reuters survey showed
that more U.S. primary dealers now expect the Fed to trim its
$85 billion of monthly bond purchases before
The day's slight gains came on light volume, with the U.S.
government and the bond market closed for Veterans Day. The S&P
500 also came close to ending the session at a record high.
"The focus is right again back to the Fed. The thinking is
perhaps the taper has been moved forward. Maybe it's not going
to be March, maybe December," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice
president of BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.
Among the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainers, Transocean
Ltd shares gained 3.6 percent to $55.37 after the
company said it reached an agreement with investor Carl Icahn in
which the offshore driller will pay a dividend of $3 per share
and reduce the number of board seats. The S&P
500 energy index rose 0.2 percent and ranked among the
day's better performers.
Twitter Inc, which went public amid much fanfare
last week, climbed 3 percent to $42.90.
The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 21.32
points, or 0.14 percent, to 15,783.10, a record closing high.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added just 1.28 points,
or 0.07 percent, to finish at 1,771.89. The Nasdaq Composite
Index inched up only 0.56 of a point, or 0.01 percent,
to close at 3,919.79.
The Nasdaq index, which has the strongest
year-to-date gains of all three major indexes, has been
underperforming the broader market recently. While the Dow and
the S&P 500 each posted a fifth week of gains on Friday, the
Nasdaq registered a slight loss for the week.
After the bell, shares of News Corp declined 3.3
percent to $16.85. Rupert Murdoch's company reported a
steeper-than-expected decline in revenue in its first quarter
that it was split off from its more profitable sister
entertainment business Fox.
During Monday's regular session, large technology companies
had the biggest negative impact on the Nasdaq, with Apple Inc
slipping 0.3 percent to $519.05.
Shares of ViroPharma jumped 25.5 percent to $49.42
following news that London-listed Shire is buying the
company for $4.2 billion, attracted by a pipeline of potentially
lucrative drugs to treat rare diseases.
The Fed's bond-buying stimulus program has been one of the
primary reasons for this year's stocks rally as it has supported
the economy and lured investors into riskier assets like
equities. The S&P 500 is up 24 percent for the year so far.
Many analysts fear that the market may be ripe for a
pullback before the end of the year, especially if the Fed
decides to begin reducing its stimulus as early as December.
Until then, the trend may remain upward.
"You can't argue with the momentum the market has had thus
far, so it looks like we're still in that upward trend," Hellwig
Morgan Stanley analysts said in a research note that a
sooner-than-expected Fed tapering could hurt defensive shares,
which outperformed in October.
Investors also will pay close attention this week to results
from retailers, including Macy's and Wal-Mart,
both of which are expected to report increases in earnings from
a year ago, based on Thomson Reuters data.
Shares of Macy's shot up 1.9 percent to $47.07 on Monday,
while shares of Wal-Mart gained 1.4 percent to $79.01.
About 4.78 billion shares traded on the New York Stock
Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, below the five-day
average closing volume of about 6.62 billion, according to BATS
Advancers outpaced decliners on the NYSE by a ratio of 15 to
14, while on the Nasdaq, decliners outnumbered advancers by
about 13 to 12.