* Dollar Tree offers to buy Family Dollar; deal valued at
* June pending home sales unexpectedly fall
* Dow up 0.1 pct; S&P 500 up 0.03 pct;, Nasdaq off 0.1 pct
(Updates close with Herbalife after the bell, adds volume)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, July 28 U.S. stocks ended nearly flat
on Monday as the latest deal news offset losses following
discouraging data on the housing market and some signs of
weakness in the services sector.
Dollar Tree Inc offered to buy rival discount chain
Family Dollar Stores Inc for about $8.5 billion. The
transaction, including debt, values Family Dollar at about $9.2
billion. Family Dollar's stock shot up 24.9
percent to $75.74 and was the S&P 500's biggest percentage
gainer. Dollar Tree's shares gained 1.2 percent to $54.87.
Zillow Inc agreed to buy Trulia Inc for $3.5
billion in stock in a deal that would combine the two most
popular U.S. real estate website
operators Trulia's shares jumped 15.4 percent to
$65.04. Zillow's stock rose 0.9 percent to $160.32.
Investors' optimism, however, was limited by the day's data,
among the latest to suggest that momentum in some sectors of the
economy was slowing.
An index of pending home sales unexpectedly fell 1.1 percent
in June, the National Association of Realtors said. The report
followed an 8.1 percent drop of new home sales in June, the
biggest slump in almost a year. The PHLX housing sector index
declined 1.4 percent.
Investors also turned their focus to the Fed's meeting on
Tuesday and Wednesday, when the U.S. central bank's officials
could make some subtle changes to their policy statement about
how and when they will eventually raise interest rates.
"What they talk about in their statement, particularly with
regard to the trajectory of the economy, is going to be
important to the market. So there are probably some investors on
the sidelines waiting to see what might come out of that," said
Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management
in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22.02 points or
0.13 percent, to end at 16,982.59. The S&P 500 inched up
just 0.57 of a point or 0.03 percent to close at 1,978.91. The
Nasdaq Composite, though, slipped 4.66 points or 0.10
percent, to finish at 4,444.91.
After the bell, Herbalife Ltd reported a 17 percent
drop in quarterly profit. Shares of the weight-loss and
nutrition products company slid 10.2 percent to $60.60 in
During the regular session, the day's most active stocks
included El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc, a restaurant chain
that went public late last week. El Pollo Loco leaped 43.5
percent to close at $34.48, extending the rally from Friday, its
first day of trading.
Monday's economic indicators included preliminary data
showing that activity in the U.S. services sector stayed at its
highest level in 4-1/2 years in July, though readings for new
business and employment growth weakened, according to financial
data firm Markit.
About 5.4 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, just
below the 5.5 billion average for the month to date, according
to data from BATS Global Markets.
Decliners outnumbered advancers on the New York Stock
Exchange by a ratio of 17 to 13. On the Nasdaq, about 17 stocks
fell for every 10 that rose.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)