US stocks mixed in midday trading ahead of busy week for earnings, Fed meeting on rate

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Trader John O'Hara wears an Ironman mask as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, April 27, 2015, in New York. Actors Jeremy Renner and Robert Downey Jr. rang the NYSE opening bell Monday with representatives from Marvel Entertainment. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)


A trader wearing an Avengers t-shirt works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, April 27, 2015, in New York. Actors Jeremy Renner and Robert Downey Jr. rang the NYSE opening bell Monday with representatives from Marvel Entertainment. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)


NEW YORK — U.S. stocks traded mixed in the early afternoon Monday as investors looked ahead to a busy week for earnings news. European shares rallied on the hopes that Greece will strike a deal with its creditors to avert default after news it had reshuffled its negotiating team.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,103 as of 12:14 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell less than a point, or a fraction of a percent, to 2,117. The Nasdaq composite slipped 11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,081.

The mixed trading follows big gains last week. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose to yet another record, and the Nasdaq finally climbed back from its losses in the dot-com crash to hit its first high in fifteen years.

EYE ON EARNINGS: More than 150 companies in the S&P 500 are expected to report quarterly results this week, including Ford, Visa, Pfizer and Exxon Mobil. Investors are anxious because falling oil prices and a strengthening dollar have hammered first-quarter results at some companies. Per-share earnings for the S&P 500 are expected to fall 1 percent from a year earlier, according to S&P Capital IQ, a provider of financial data. That would be the first drop since 2009.

EYE ON APPLE: Apple rose $2.49, or 2 percent, to $132.73 as investors waited for quarterly results due out after U.S. markets close. The world's No. 1 company by market value is being closely watched for signs of how its new Apple Watches are doing.

Apple has soared 63 percent in the past 12 months, and is the biggest component in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes.

HOPE FOR GREECE: Greece reshuffled its bailout negotiating team on Monday following fierce criticism of its finance minister, raising hopes the move will facilitate a deal to save the country from default. The main Greek stock index rallied on the news, closing up 4.4 percent. Yields on the country's two-year bonds — a gauge of market fears that the country might default —fell almost 2 percentage points to about 23 percent.

On Friday, Greece's Yanis Varoufakis was rebuked for failing to come up with a list of reforms that European creditors want before they release new loans. Greece's government is forecast to run out of money to pay its bills in another few weeks.

EUROPE RISES: France's CAC-40 index rose 1.3 percent and Germany's DAX gained 1.9 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.5 percent.

Corporate news on Monday in Europe was dominated by a Deutsche Bank report that its profits had dropped by half and that it would reorganize its global operations.

DEAL DROP: Mylan dropped 3 percent after the generic drug maker rejected a $40 billion buyout offer from Teva Pharmaceuticals, a cash-and-stock deal that Mylan says undervalues it. The company's stock fell $2.29 to $73.99.

BURGER BOOM: Burger King owner Restaurant Brands rose 91 cents, or nearly 2 percent, to $51.50 after reporting results that beat analysts' expectations. The fast-food chain reported its biggest sales jump in a decade. The parent company, which also owns Tim Hortons, reported earnings per share, adjusted for certain costs, of 18 cents, three cents higher than expected.

SEMICONDUCTOR SLUMP: Applied Materials fell $1.50, or 7 percent, to $20.30 after calling off its $9.4 billion acquisition of Tokyo Electron Ltd. The two big semiconductor industry suppliers said that they were told by the Department of Justice that there were antitrust concerns.

U.S. ECONOMY: Investors were preparing for a two-day meeting of the Fed that starts Tuesday during which policymakers may discuss whether to raise a key interest rate from the near-zero level for the first time in 6 ½ years. While the Fed has no plans to update its forecasts, the meeting "will be closely watched to see if markets had been too eager to push out Fed hike expectations, especially now that oil prices have pushed above $55/barrel," DBS said in a report.

JAPAN DOWNGRADE: Fitch ratings agency said Monday it had cut its credit grade for Japan to A from A+ citing a lack of government reforms to the budget, weak growth, and high debt. The Japanese government has increased spending to kickstart growth but analysts say the plan has not been followed up sufficiently well with moves to control government debt. The rating announcement came after Tokyo's market closed.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei shed 0.2 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 3 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.3 percent. Seoul's Kospi declined 0.1 percent. India's Sensex fell 0.6 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 19 cents to $57.34 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 119.02 yen from Friday's 118.95. The euro rose to $1.0911 from $1.0870.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices fell, pushing up the yield on the 10-year Treasury to 1.93 percent.


AP Writer Joe McDonald contributed to this report from Beijing.

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