Most U.S. stocks dropped during afternoon trading on Monday as crude oil prices rose while the outlook for bank earnings lowered.
Financial shares were on the downslide after Goldman Sachs recommended that its clients sell the sector as well as consumer discretionary stocks due to economic concerns. Oil gained for a second day pushing Home Depot Inc., General Motors Corp. and United Airlines parent UAL Corp. lower and sent energy shares higher.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 2.71 points to 1,320.64 at 1:27 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 10.34, or less than 0.1 percent, to 11,853.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 9.44, or 0.4 percent, to 2,396.65.
News that Bunge Ltd the fertilizer producer and oilseed processor, agreed to buy Corn Products International Inc helped support the broad market.
Corn Products shares jumped 18.1 percent to $50.69 on the NYSE, while Bunge shares sank 10.6 percent to $109.24.
Merrill fell $1.42 to $34.53. Morgan Stanley dropped 90 cents to $37.78. Lehman slid 82 cents to $23.38.