U.S. stocks finished the session basically flat

U.S. stocks finished the session basically flat on Monday as investors were staying on sidelines amid light volumes.

Both the federal government and bond market closed on Monday for the Columbus Day holiday. Investors were cautious amid no economic data or corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones industrial average stayed above the level of 11, 000, which it broke on Friday for the first time in five months after a bleak monthly jobs report, adding to hopes that the Fed will begin another round of quantitative easing to prop up the economy.

Most investors were betting that the Fed would announce an expansion of its bond-buying program on its next meeting in early November.

Meanwhile, investors were also expecting more companies to report strong performance after the bellwether Alcoa posted better- than-expected results last Thursday, which officially kicked off a new earnings season.

This week, chip maker Intel will release quarterly filings on Tuesday. J.P. Morgan Chase will report on Wednesday, Google on Thursday and General Electric on Friday.

As the market closed, the Dow Jones industrial average added 3. 63 points, or 0.03 percent, to 11,010.11. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 0.15 points, or 0.01 percent, to 1,165.30 and the Nasdaq was up 0.42 points, or 0.02 percent, to 2,402.33.

Among stocks in focus, shares of Gymboree Corp. jumped 22.4 percent after Bain Capital agreed to buy the children’s clothing retailer for 1.8 billion dollars.

Also catching investors’ eyes, IBM shares hit an all-time peak on Monday, climbing as high as 139.94 dollars per share before slipping back to 139.66 dollars. The previous high was 139.19 dollars per share, reached during the dot-com boom on July 13, 1999.

Earlier in the day, Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 7, its new mobile-phone software platform. However, Microsoft shares only inched up two cents to close at 24.59 dollars for the day.

On other markets, Gold settled at a record high of 1,354.40 dollars an ounce while crude oil futures for November delivery ended 45 cents lower to 82.21 dollars a barrel as the dollar climbed back up, sparking risk aversion among oil investors. (PNA/Xinhua)

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