U.S. stock indexes ended lower Monday in a day of quiet trading.
At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 55.8 points, about 0.3 percent, at 17,737. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 6.7 points, about 0.3 percent, at 2,066. The Nasdaq composite was off 22.8 points, about 0.5 percent, at 4,891.8.
CRUDE ENERGY. Oil prices seesawed as investors digested reports that Saudi Arabia would freeze its production only if Iran and other producers agreed to do the same. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.04 to $35.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost $1.07 cents to $37.60 a barrel.
MANAGEMENT SHAKE-UP. Homebuilder PulteGroup sank 7 percent Monday on news that the company’s CEO will retire next year as part of a management shake-up.
ALASKA AIR DEAL. Alaska Air Group Inc. is buying Virgin America in a deal worth more than $2 billion, combining their West Coast presence and reigniting the debate over airline consolidation. Alaska Airlines will pay $57 in cash per Virgin America share. That’s a 47 percent premium to its Friday closing price of $38.90. Virgin’s shares rose more than 39 percent in premarket trading.
The companies put the transaction’s value at about $4 billion, including debt and capitalized aircraft operating leases.
IT’S ELECTRIC. Tesla Motors rose $12.30, or 5 percent, to $249.86 after the company announced it had received 276,000 preorders for its highly anticipated Model 3, which is to be unveiled on Thursday.
HEALTHY. Health care companies were among the biggest gainers on Monday, with the health care component of the S&P 500 rising 1.2 percent. Health care stocks were helped by news out of Edwards Lifesciences, which said its new replacement heart valve product met the goals necessary in a clinical trial. Edwards Lifesciences jumped $17.40, or 19 percent, to $107.37.
U.S. JOBS. The U.S. government said Friday that job growth continued at a strong clip in March, slightly stronger than investors expected and showing employers were confident enough to add staff despite the slowing economy. Employers added 215,000 jobs last month, a solid figure but not enough to keep up with the new job-seekers. More people also looked for work and wages edged higher.