US STOCKS-Wall St flat on Fed stimulus uncertainty; BlackBerry slumps

Reuters

* U.S. factory orders data released

* BlackBerry abandons sale plans, to replace CEO

* S&P up 0.1 pct, Dow down 0.08 pct, Nasdaq up 0.16 pct

By Luke Swiderski

NEW YORK, Nov 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were littlechanged on Monday, with shares of Blackberry plummeting to a10-year low as the day's biggest loser, amid uncertainty overthe longevity of the Federal Reserve's massive stimulusmeasures.

U.S.-listed shares of Blackberry tumbled 13.8percent to $6.70 a share after the smartphone maker said it wasabandoning a plan to sell itself and instead, would replace itschief executive officer. With Monday's drop, thestock is at levels unseen since October 2003.

The quiet start to the week follows a week of record highsfor U.S. stocks, and it remains to be seen whether the marketcan push higher, with much dependent on the steps the FederalReserve will take in the months ahead in response to economicdata. The Fed's massive bond purchases have helped prop up theeconomy and the equity market for much of the year.

"Honestly there's not a lot of news - we are catching ourbreath," said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist atSchaeffer's Investment Research.

The benchmark S&P index has risen 4.3 percent overthe past four weeks as the partial U.S. government shutdown inOctober pushed back expectations for the Fed to begin curtailingits stimulus measures into the first quarter of 2014.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 12.42 points,or 0.08 percent, to 15,603.13, the S&P 500 gained 1.73points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,763.37 and the Nasdaq Composite added 6.193 points, or 0.16 percent, to 3,928.236.

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard told CNBCtelevision the Fed should not rush a decision to scale back itsasset purchase program because of low inflation.

But recent manufacturing data has been stronger thanexpected, lending weight to the argument that the economy may besturdy enough to handle an earlier-than-expected reduction inthe central bank's bond-buying program.

Factory orders rose 1.7 percent in September, in line withconsensus expectations, after an unexpected dip of 0.1 percentin August, data released on Monday showed.

Kellogg Co advanced 1.5 percent to $63.24 after thecereal maker reported a 3 percent rise in quarterly profit, andsaid it would slash 7 percent of its workforce by 2017.

With about 75 percent of S&P 500 companies having reportedresults so far, 69 percent have topped Wall Street'sexpectations, above the long-term average of 63 percent, whilejust 53 percent have topped revenue forecasts, below the 61percent average since 2002, Thomson Reuters data showed.

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