updated 2/10/2004 7:38:55 AM ET 2004-02-10T12:38:55

Investors left stocks in limbo Monday, making few commitments while they awaited U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s testimony before Congress this Wednesday and Thursday. The major indexes were narrowly mixed after seesawing through the session, but more stocks gained than declined.

Major Market Indices

While a merger between Netscreen Technologies and Juniper Networks gave tech stocks some support, uncertainty over Greenspan’s remarks, expected Wednesday and Thursday, could combine with the upcoming holiday weekend to keep institutional investors from taking large positions this week, said Michael Murphy, head trader at Wachovia Securities in Baltimore.

“I think there will be directionless trading with a lot of volatility until he talks, so that shoots almost the whole week,” Murphy said. “Until then, it’s more of the same.”

The Dow Jones industrials fell 14.00 points, or 0.1 percent, to 10,579.03, after rising 1 percent last week. The Dow moved within a narrow 54-point range Monday.

Broader stock indicators finished mixed. The Nasdaq fell 3.44 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,060.57, after dipping 0.1 percent last week. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down 2.95 points, or 0.3 percent, at 1,139.81, following last week’s 1 percent gain.

Technical problems delayed the opening of trading at the American Stock Exchange on Monday, but were fixed by early afternoon.

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The problem was caused by a glitch in the computer and networking system that the Amex jointly owns with the New York Stock Exchange, Amex spokeswoman Mary Chung said. No trading problems were reported at the NYSE.

With the bulk of earnings season over and no major economic news released Monday, the uneven start to the week was no surprise: Investors lacked guidance for their next moves. Wall Street also had little momentum behind it, given the erratic, and mostly lower, trading of the last few weeks.

“We started off the year on a pretty strong note and things got a little heated up and maybe a little too enthusiastic,” said Steven Goldman, chief market strategist at Weeden & Co. in Greenwich, Conn. “There’s some consolidating, but most stocks are pushing higher today. There are strong underpinnings to the market.”

Internet security hardware maker Netscreen Technologies Inc. shot up $9.54, or 36 percent, to $35.94, after agreeing to be acquired by Juniper Networks Inc. in a $4 billion stock swap. Juniper was off $3.29, or 11 percent, at $26.18.

Credit card issuer Providian Financial Corp. gained 55 cents to $13.69 as analysts and traders discussed the possibility of a takeover by Barclays, one of Britain’s largest banks.

Electronic commerce company InterActiveCorp. closed $1.09 higher at $33.04 after beating estimates on strong sales for travel sites such as Hotels.com and Expedia, ticketing site Ticketmaster and online personals site Match.com, as well as its Home Shopping Network segment.

Hasbro Inc. gained 7 cents to $20.76 after announcing its fourth-quarter earnings were up 23 percent from a year earlier.

Aaipharma Inc. slid $2.43, or 10 percent, to $20.73 after an analyst’s report revealed that the company’s top-selling pain treatment would get generic competition sooner than expected.

Business services company Moore Wallace Inc. dropped $1.84 to $17.69 after its chief financial officer was suspended with pay after he submitted an outdated document to accountants investigating improprieties at the company.

Advancing issues were ahead of decliners by about 5 to 4 on the NYSE. Volume was 1.28 billion shares traded, compared with 1.47 billion on Friday.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies closed up 1.42 points, or 0.2 percent, at 585.49.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average finished 0.6 percent lower Monday. In Europe, France’s CAC-40 finished 1.1 percent higher, Britain’s FTSE 100 closed up 0.7 percent and Germany’s DAX index advanced 1.3 percent.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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