US STOCKS-S&P & Dow lower, BlackBerry keeps Nasdaq above water
* BlackBerry soars; company exploring strategic options
* Nasdaq helped by gains in Apple
* Indexes: Dow flat, S&P down 0.14, Nasdaq up 0.16 pct
NEW YORK, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Technology stocks Apple and BlackBerry kept the Nasdaq above break-even on Monday, but other major stock indexes were lower in a session marked by light trading.
Many traders are away on holiday in August, contributing to low trading volume that can amplify market volatility. With the Fed meeting past and most corporate earnings results and key economic figures already released, the market is entering a seasonally slow period.
Last week, the market had some of its lightest trading so far this year as the S&P 500 fell.
"There are very few negative catalysts, but there's also a lack of positive catalysts," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York. He noted general improvement in expectations for global growth due to reduced fears of a slowdown in China and recent positive surprises in European economic figures.
U.S.-listed shares of smartphone maker BlackBerry rose 7.3 percent to more than $10 after the company said it had set up a committee to explore a possible sale or partnership. The stock was the most actively traded on Nasdaq on Monday.
Shares of Apple Inc, the world's largest technology company, rose 2.4 percent to $465 after technology blog AllThingsD reported that the company is expected to present its redesigned iPhone in September.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 12.60 points, or 0.08 percent, at 15,412.91. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 2.37 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,689.05. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 5.90 points, or 0.16 percent, at 3,666.00.
The Fed's policy has helped fueled the S&P's gain of nearly 19 percent in 2013. The Fed is moving toward reducing its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, and concern about less stimulus has caused investors to take a step back from stocks.
Steinway Musical Instruments, the manufacturer of pianos, saxophones and trumpets, said it received a $38-per-share buyout offer from an investment firm it did not identify, topping an earlier bid by Kohlberg & Co. Shares of Steinway rose 8.6 percent to $39.34.
Vical Inc shares plummeted 56 percent to $1.50 after the company said it would stop developing cancer therapy Allovectin after a late-stage trial failed. The stock was one of the most actively traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Tesla Motors Inc dipped 4.2 percent to $146.60 after Lazard downgraded the stock.
Shares of Dole Food rose 5 percent to $13.45 after the vegetable and fruit producer agreed to be taken private by its 90-year-old Chairman and Chief Executive David Murdock after he raised his offer to $13.50 per share. Murdock is Dole's largest shareholder with a stake of about 40 percent.
Food company Sysco Corp shares fell 5 percent to $33.27 after reporting its fourth-quarter results.