Wall St flat, Blackberry slumps; Twitter raises IPO range

An updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange features a Twitter logo, Monday, Nov 4, 2013, in New York. United States (US) stock indexes were little changed on Monday in below-average trading volume, while shares of Blackber
An updated phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange features a Twitter logo, Monday, Nov 4, 2013, in New York. United States (US) stock indexes were little changed on Monday in below-average trading volume, while shares of Blackberry plummeted to a 10-year low after the company replaced its CEO. -- PHOTO: AP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - United States (US) stock indexes were little changed on Monday in below-average trading volume, while shares of Blackberry plummeted to a 10-year low after the company replaced its CEO.

US-listed shares of Blackberry tumbled 17.2 per cent to $6.43 a share after the smartphone maker said it was abandoning a plan to sell itself. With Monday's drop, the stock is at levels unseen since October 2003.

Twitter IPO-TWTR.N, meanwhile, raised the upper end of the projected price range for its initial public offering later in the week, an encouraging sign for the social media company.

The otherwise quiet start to the week follows a week of record highs for US stocks. It remains to be seen whether the market can push higher, with much dependent on the steps the Federal Reserve will take in the months ahead in response to economic data. The Fed's massive bond purchases have helped prop up the economy and the equity market for much of the year.

"There's not a lot of volume out there," said Mr Weston Boone, vice president of listed trading at Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets. By 1.45pm ET (2.45am Singapore time), about 2.89 billion shares had changed hands on the New York and Nasdaq stock exchanges, suggesting a below-average session.

The benchmark S&P index has risen 4.3 per cent over the past four weeks as the partial US government shutdown in October pushed back expectations for the Fed to begin curtailing its stimulus measures into the first quarter of 2014.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 2.33 points or 0.01 per cent, to 15,617.88, the S&P 500 gained 3.35 points or 0.19 per cent, to 1,764.99 and the Nasdaq Composite added 6.872 points or 0.18 per cent, to 3,928.914.

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard told CNBC television the Fed should not rush a decision to scale back its asset purchase programme because of low inflation.

Recent manufacturing data have been stronger than expected, lending weight to the argument that the economy may be sturdy enough to handle an earlier-than-expected reduction in the central bank's bond-buying program.

The S&P Energy Index rose 0.8 per cent to 632.83. The sector's top performer was Peabody Energy Corp, which rose 3.84 per cent to $20.82. Exxon Mobil Corp was up $1.85 to $91.67.

Kellogg Co advanced 1.1 per cent to $62.98 after the cereal maker reported a 3 per cent rise in quarterly profit, and said it would slash 7 per cent of its workforce by 2017.

With about 75 per cent of S&P 500 companies having reported results so far, 69 per cent have topped Wall Street's expectations, above the long-term average of 63 per cent. Just 53 per cent have topped revenue forecasts, below the 61 per cent average since 2002, Thomson Reuters data showed.