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Stocks finish flat as deal news offsets losses

NEW YORK (Reuters) — Stocks ended nearly flat on Monday as the latest deal news offset losses following discouraging data on the housing market and some signs of weakness in the services sector.

Dollar Tree Inc offered to buy rival discount chain Family Dollar Stores Inc for about $8.5 billion. The transaction, including debt, values Family Dollar at about $9.2 billion. Family Dollar’s stock shot up 24.9 percent to $75.74 and was the S&P 500’s biggest percentage gainer. Dollar Tree’s shares gained 1.2 percent to $54.87.

In other deal news, Zillow Inc agreed to buy Trulia Inc for $3.5 billion in stock in a deal that would combine the two most popular U.S. real estate website operators Trulia’s shares jumped 15.4 percent to $65.04. Zillow’s stock rose 0.9 percent to $160.32.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22.02 points or 0.13 percent, to end at 16,982.59. The S&P 500 inched up just 0.57 of a point or 0.03 percent to finish at 1,978.91. The Nasdaq Composite, though, slipped 4.66 points or 0.10 percent, to close at 4,444.91.

The market may be struggling to cross some key round numbers, with the Dow sitting just below 17,000 and the S&P 500 near 2,000, some analysts said.


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