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Miners and deal stocks in focus on Wall Street

Steve Rothwell, AP Markets Writer

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 31, 2013 file photo, specialists Joseph Dreyer, left, and Donald Civitanova work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. After a losing week for the three major stock indexes, investors are hoping for a rebound on Wall Street, Monday, Aug. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mining companies and a handful of acquisitions were in focus Monday on an otherwise quiet day on the stock market.

Newmont Mining and Cliffs Natural Resources were among the biggest gainers in the Standard & Poor's 500 index after the price of gold and silver advanced. Gold rose for a fourth day on reports of increased demand from China. Silver gained the most in three weeks.

In deal news, BlackBerry jumped after the struggling smartphone maker said it would consider putting itself up for sale. Dole Foods rose after its CEO said he would take the company private and Steinway Musical Instruments rose after receiving a new buyout offer.

Stocks had opened lower at the start of the week after logging their biggest weekly loss in almost two months. By midday the losses had been pared and the major indexes were little changed.

The S&P 500 index fell two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,689. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 11 points, or 0.1 percent, at 15,413. The Nasdaq composite rose 10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,662.

Technology stocks were the leading gainers and got a lift from Apple. The tech giant's stock rose $11.70, or 2.6 percent, to $466.10 after the blog All Things D said the company would release the latest version of its iPhone on Sept. 10.

The stock market has been treading water in August as companies finished reporting earnings for the second quarter and investors considered when the Federal Reserve will start to ease back on its economic stimulus. The U.S. central bank is buying $85 billion a month to keep long-term interest rates low, and many analysts are expecting that it will start reducing those purchases as soon as next month.

"There will be some near-term volatility, but it's a buying opportunity and a chance to get fully invested in the market," said Doug Cote, chief market strategist with ING U.S. Investment Management. A cut in stimulus "is not a risk, it's the most telegraphed event in the world."

The tepid August follows big gains for stocks for July, when the S&P 500 rose 5 percent, its biggest monthly gain since January. Stocks climbed that month after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reassured investors that the Fed would only ease back on its stimulus if the economy was strong enough to handle it.

Sluggish economic growth figures from Japan also disappointed investors.

The 2.6 percent annualized second-quarter growth rate recorded in Japan, the world's third-largest economy, was below the 3.8 percent rate recorded in the first quarter and the 3.6 percent predicted by analysts. Japan's main stock index, the Nikkei, fell 0.7 percent on the news.

In commodities trading, the price of gold rose $26.90, or 2 percent, to 1,339 an ounce. Silver gained 90 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $21.31 an ounce.

Newmont Mining, advanced $1.70, or 5.8 percent, to $31.23 and Cliffs Natural Resources gained 57 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $24.93.

The price of oil fell 23 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $105.68 a barrel.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged from late Friday at 2.58 percent. The dollar rose against the euro and the Japanese yen.

In deal news, BlackBerry rose 47 cents, or 4.8 percent to $10.24. Steinway climbed $3.05, or 8.4 percent, to $39.32 after an investment firm topped an earlier offer from Kohlberg & Co. Dole rose 64 cents, or 5 percent, to $13.45, after Dole's CEO said he would take the company private in a deal that values the company at $2.1 billion.

— Among other stocks making big moves:

— Krispy Kreme rose $1.47, or 6.8 percent, to $22.91 after the stock was upgraded by an analyst at Janney Capital Markets on the expectation that the company will have stronger sales growth than previously expected.

—Sysco, a food distributor, fell $1.43, or 4.1 percent, to $33.58 after the company said that its net income fell 9 percent due to higher operating expenses and restructuring charges.