Wall Street's pre-election jitters left stocks with only a modest gain Monday, even as crude oil futures fell near the $50 per barrel mark. A mix of economic data added to the ambivalence.
A sharp drop in energy prices soothed the market, although the prospect of a tight election loomed.
"The oil picture certainly helps, but you still have a lot of people sitting on their hands," said Brian Belski, market strategist at Piper Jaffray.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 26.92, or 0.3 percent, to 10,054.39. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was up 0.31, or 0.03 percent, at 1130.51; and the Nasdaq composite index gained 4.88, or 0.2 percent, to 1979.87.
Volume was lighter than usual as some investors sat out of the market prior to Election Day, and the major indexes moved in and out of positive territory in a narrow range for most of the session.
PeopleSoft surged $2.16, or 10.4 percent, to $22.93 as Oracle increased its bid for the rival software company from $21 to $24 per share, giving the company until Nov. 19 to decide on Oracle's "best and final offer." Oracle gained 9 cents, to $12.75.
Industrial giant Tyco International swung to a fourth-quarter profit, thanks to a double-digit rise in sales and lower one-time charges compared with last year. While Tyco surpassed Wall Street profit forecasts by 2 cents per share, the company lowered its outlook for future profit. Tyco rose 55 cents, to $31.70.
Martin Marietta Materials climbed $2.22, to $47.75, after the construction materials company posted a 19 percent increase in profit, beating analysts' expectations by 7 cents per share.
Health benefits manager Humana saw its profit jump by more than a third and improved its profit outlook as well. Humana was up $1.20, to $20.35.
* The New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 7.15, to 6699.86; the American Stock Exchange index fell 6.36, to 1305.03; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 3.21, to 587.00.
* Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 7 to 5 on the NYSE, where trading volume fell to 1.4 billion shares, from 1.5 billion on Friday. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, advancers narrowly outnumbered decliners and volume totaled 1.53 billion, down from 1.62 billion.
* The price of the Treasury's 10-year note fell $4.69 per $1,000 invested, and its yield rose to 4.09 percent, from 4.03 percent on Friday.
* The dollar rose against the Japanese yen and the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 106.44 yen, up from 105.86 late Friday, and a euro bought $1.2749, down from $1.2791.
* Light, sweet crude oil for December delivery settled at $50.13, down $1.63, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
* Gold for current delivery fell to $427.30 a troy ounce, from $428.50 on Friday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.