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US STOCKS-Wall St flat after rally, trading expected to be light

Angela Moon
Monday, 11 Nov 2013 | 10:02 AM ET

* Bond markets closed for holiday, seen damping stocks trading

* Transocean reaches deal with Icahn over dividend

* ViroPharma shares soar, to be acquired by Shire for $4.2 billion

* Indexes: Dow flat; S&P flat; Nasdq off 0.2 pct

NEW YORK, Nov 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday as investors took a breather after the Dow and the S&P 500 indexes rose five weeks in a row.

Trading volume was likely to be quiet due to the Veterans Day holiday with government offices and bond markets closed, and no major data or earnings on tap.

The Nasdaq index, which has been underperforming the broader market recently, continued to lag. While the S&P 500 rose more than 0.5 percent last week, the Nasdaq fell 0.1 percent for the week.

"Should technology take the reins and move above here, that will likely be the catalyst that leads the S&P 500 to new all-time highs." said Bryan Sapp, senior trading analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1.73 points, or 0.01 percent, at 15,760.05. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 0.79 point, or 0.04 percent, at 1,769.82. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 5.95 points, or 0.15 percent, at 3,913.28.

The S&P 500 closed out the week higher for the fifth week in a row on Friday, its longest streak of weekly gains since February, boosted by an unexpectedly strong jobs report. Although the data sparked some concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve may taper its stimulus efforts sooner than expected, investors shifted focus to supporting the view the U.S. economy is stronger than previously thought.

"Equities should continue higher into year end, even if as we suspect investors become nervous about a December-time tapering at the Fed's final meeting of the year," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

Among individual stocks, shares of ViroPharma jumped 26 percent to $49.45 following news that London-listed Shire is buying the company for $4.2 billion, attracted by a pipeline of potentially lucrative drugs to treat rare diseases.

Transocean Ltd shares rose 3 percent to $54.99 after the company said it reached an agreement with Carl Icahn in which the offshore driller will pay a $3 per share dividend and reduce the number of board seats.

Tesla Motors Inc shares were down 0.1 percent to $137.55, extending losses after the stock suffered its worst weekly loss since early 2012.

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