U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday as merger activity and solid earnings, including Exxon Mobil, offset concerns about the possible spread of unrest in Egypt to other parts of the Middle East.
Alpha Natural Resources fell 7.2 percent to $53.72 after it agreed to a $7.1 billion deal to buy Massey Energy Co, which would create the second largest U.S. coal miner by market value.
Massey shares jumped 10 percent to $62.95.
Exxon Mobil Corp edged up 0.6 percent to $79.49 after the world's largest publicly traded oil company reported a higher-than-expected 53 percent increase in quarterly profit.
The merger and earnings action tempered fears of political unrest spreading to oil-producing Middle Eastern countries after anti-government protests in Egypt continued.
The major concern there obviously is if that flares up, how that is going to impact the Middle East as a whole. Once it looks like it is calming down, people start to focus on the actual situation here, which is encouraging, said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.
The Dow Jones industrial average shed 4.08 points, or 0.03 percent, at 11,819.62. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 1.77 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,278.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 6.02 points, or 0.22 percent, at 2,680.87.
The Commerce Department said U.S. consumer spending rose in December for a sixth straight month while a report showed business activity in the U.S. Midwest grew more than expected in January.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Kenneth Barry)