Stocks began the session relatively quietly, but received a bump following the better-than-expected University of Michigan Consumer Confidence reading and leading conomic indicators reports. The move was short-lived, however, as the averages drifted back to where they have began the session. The market has been in a virtual standstill, which is a stark contrast to option expiration days of yesteryear... ECONOMIC EVENTS: Consumer sentiment improved in early August to its highest level in three months due to sales at retailers and low mortgage rates. A measure of future U.S. economic activity recovered in July following a sharp drop in June, according to the Conference Board. Gas prices have risen 25c per gallon in the past month after falling steadily in May and June. German Chancellor Angela Merkel backs the European Central Bank's conditional support for Spain and Italy, expressing no objections to acquiring bonds to hold down borrowing costs for stricken countries... MARKET NEWS: The Department of Justice has allowed the pending spectrum and marketing deals between Verizon Wireless (VZ, VOD) and several cable companies (CMCSA, TWC) to move forward. Stanford University reiterated its "long-standing research-based relationship" with Nu Skin (NUS). Hon Hai may look to raise its stake in Sharp (SHCAY) to 20%, according to a report from Nikkei... MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers were Apple (AAPL), after its price target was raised to $900 at Jeffries after indications that the iPad Mini is in production and the iPhone 5 is expected to be the biggest handset launch in history; and Gap (GPS), after it reported better-than-expected Q2 earnings. Noteworthy losers included Groupon (GRPN), after it was downgraded to Underweight at Evercore; and Marvel (MRVL), after it reported disappointing Q2 results and guidance... INDICES: Near noon, the Dow was up 14.72 or 0.11%, to 13,264.83; the Nasdaq was up 5.66, or 0.18%, to 3,068.05; and the S&P 500 was up 0.87, or 0.06%, to 1,416.38.