U.S. stocks swung in a tight range in the morning session on Monday as investors took a breather after the market witnessed a record rally last Friday.
With significant rebounds from the October bottom, major stock indices finished October in positive territory Friday, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average and the benchmark S&P 500 back to record highs.
Following the record run, the Dow and the S&P 500 briefly touched new record intraday highs minutes after the opening bell before posting a slightly volatile morning trading session.
While digesting a string of manufacturing data from the United States and abroad to assess the health of the global economy, investors are also keeping a close eye on Tuesday's midterm election outcome which might spell some uncertainties to the market.
The U.S. manufacturing sector activity grew at a slower pace in October, with the seasonally adjusted final Markit U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Mangers' Index (PMI) slipping from 57.5 in September to 55.9, the slowest overall improvement in business conditions for three months, according to financial data firm Markit.
Other data from Markit showed that the eurozone manufacturing sector remained in a state of near-stagnation in October. The final seasonally adjusted Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI edged up slightly to 50.6 in October from September's 14-month low of 50. 3, only marginally above the neutral 50.0 mark, which divides expansion from contraction.
Meanwhile, the HSBC China manufacturing PMI was posted at 50.4 in October, unchanged from the earlier flash reading and was up slightly from 50.2 in September, suggesting fractional improvement of operating conditions.
On corporate earnings, so far 73 percent of the S&P 500 companies, or 366 companies, have reported earnings for the third quarter, among which 75.4 percent have topped expectations on earnings, while 58.0 percent have surpassed estimates on revenues, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
At midday, the Dow ticked down 27.19 points, or 0.16 percent, to 17,363.33. The S&P 500 added 1.91 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2, 019.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 16.37 points, or 0.35 percent, to 4,647.11.