IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Stock open flat as crude oil prices rise 

Stock indexes were mixed on Monday, a little more positive than those elsewhere in the world, and oil prices rose following strong U.S. durable goods data and earnings results from Caterpillar . 

A strong start to the earnings season has boosted equities, with major averages rising for four straight weeks. The S&P has gained for eight straight days, its longest winning streak in eight years. 

But there is wariness in anticipation of a series of significant U.S. economic events this week, including the initial estimate of fourth quarter GDP, the Federal Reserve's first policy meeting of the year and January payrolls data. 

Still, durable goods jumped 4.6 percent in December, a pace that far outstripped expectations for a rise of 1.8 percent. And in the housing market, contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly fell in December after three months of gains, but the recovery there remains intact. 

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 14.61 points, or 0.11 percent, at 13,881.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 3.45 points, or 0.23 percent, at 1,499.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 6.11 points, or 0.19 percent, at 3,155.82. 

In commodity markets Brent oil prices steadied near a three-month high at just over $113 a barrel before the Fed's two-day meeting that starts on Tuesday and the employment data on Friday that should show more signs of recovery in the world's biggest oil consumer. 

U.S. light sweet crude oil rose 25 cents, or 0.26 percent, to $96.13 per barrel. 

Other commodities also rose on evidence that the world's number two economy China is now picking up pace, along with optimism that the worst is past for the euro zone's debt crisis worst, about Japan's efforts to revive its stagnant economy and signs of U.S. growth. 

The S&P 500 on Friday closed at its highest since December 10, 2007, and the Dow ended at its highest since October 31, 2007. Over the past four weeks, the S&P has jumped 7.2 percent, suggesting markets may be vulnerable to a pullback if news disappoints.