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Stocks in holding pattern

MGN ONLINE
Monday, February 10, 2014 - 10:46am

Stocks were little changed early Monday ahead of testimony from the new Federal Reserve chair later this week.

The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 edged lower shortly after the opening bell. The Nasdaq posted a slight gain.

Investors may be reluctant to make any big moves before Tuesday's Congressional testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. This will be Yellen's first time testifying since taking control of the central bank this month. Investors will be watching to see if she sheds any light on plans to further taper, or slow down, the Fed's stimulus program.

Some investors believe that the Fed might have second thoughts about tapering, especially after the disappointing jobs report on Friday. There have been other signs of economic weakness as well.

The latest reports "indicated the economy is moving somewhat slower than expected and possibly even slow enough to get the Fed to slow its tapering," said John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer.

The Dow surged 160 points Friday as investors shrugged off the tepid jobs report and put their faith in the Fed.

What's moving: Shares of Apple rose after hedge fund manager Carl Icahn dropped a potential proxy fight with the iPhone maker regarding its share repurchase program. The stock was one of the top gainers in CNNMoney's Tech 30 index.

Icahn has been pushing Apple to use its cash to buy back more of its own stock. But Icahn said in a letter to Apple shareholders Monday that he now sees no reason to pursue a fight with Apple in light of the company's recent "opportunistic" and "aggressive" share purchases.

Tesla shares rose to an all-time high on reports the Chinese government is extending subsides for electronic cars. Kandi Technologies, a Chinese electric car maker that trades on the Nasdaq, rose nearly 9%.

Toy maker Hasbro missed on earnings expectations but the company increased its dividend. Shares rose in early trading. The reaction to Hasbro's results was a big contrast to how investors treated rival Mattel after it reported weak holiday sales last month. Mattel plunged on that news.

Yelp shares soared on reports the online review site will partner with Yahoo to incorporate reviews in Yahoo's search engine's results.

European markets were narrowly mixed in morning trading. Most Asian markets ended with sizable gains.
 

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