Monday stocks freeze in indecision

Dow now at 10,215, unchanged.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fluctuated Monday as a fresh round of corporate dealmaking was tempered by continued skepticism about the strength of the economy.
Stocks got an early lift after a spate of new deals were announced, but the gains faded quickly. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 5 points in midday trading. Broader indexes also dipped.
Technology giant Hewlett-Packard Co. offered $24 per share for 3Par Inc. just one week after rival Dell Inc. agreed to buy the data storage provider for $18 a share. Meanwhile Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. formally rejected BHP Billiton’s $38.5 billion offer to acquire the fertilizer company.
European markets rose after banking company HSBC Holdings said it was in talks to buy a controlling stake in Nedbank Group Ltd. of South Africa from Old Mutual for as much as $6.8 billion.

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