Stocks Open Narrowly Mixed; SolarCity Falls On Tesla Deal

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Stocks opened mixed Monday, with weak oil prices and M&A activity stirring action ahead of manufacturing reports due later this morning.

The Nasdaq ros 0.1% as the Dow industrials and S&P 500 fell less than 0.1%. The Russell 2000 climbed 0.2%.

Manufacturing, Construction Spending Data

The stock market will get a read on the first big economic data of the day at 9:45 a.m. ET, when researcher Markit offers up its July manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index. The Institute for Supply Management’s July manufacturing index and June construction spending numbers are expected from the Commerce Department, both at 10 a.m. ET.

SolarCity, Ebix, Sohu.com

Solar energy systems installer SolarCity (SCTY) dimmed 4% at the opening bell on reports it agreed to be bought by Tesla Motors (TSLA) in a deal valued at $2.6 billion. Solar City has 45 days to pursue other offers. Elon Musk is the chairman of both companies. Tesla shares traded a fraction lower at the open.

Patriot National (PN) catapulted higher by nearly 27% ahead of the open. Shares were halted at the open. The provider of outsourced insurance services confirmed its had received a “revised and enhanced” buyout offer from Ebix (EBIX), valued at $475 million. Ebix had initially announced it was bidding for Patriot on June 15.  Ebix shares were a fraction lower.

Drug maker Biogen (BIIB) climbed 4% in premarket action. The Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech said that the spinal muscular atrophy treatment nusinersen, developed jointly with Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS), met primary endpoint targets in a clinical phase 3 trial. Ionis shares spiked 24%.

Fleetmatics (FLTX) rocketed 39%. Verizon Communications (VZ) confirmed it would buy the Ireland-based provider of vehicle fleet management programs for $2.4 billion in cash. Verizon last week agreed to buy Yahoo‘s (YHOO) internet business for $4.8 billion. Verizon shares traded fractionally lower.

Vulcan Materials (VMC) dropped more than 3% after reporting earnings and revenue short of analysts targets. Management said the broad recovery for construction materials was masked by “extremely wet weather and slower-than-expected large-project starts” in the quarter. The stock ended Friday’s session extended, after a late June rebound from its 10-week moving average.

Sohu.com (SOHU) fell nearly 4% after reporting a wide second-quarter revenue and earnings miss, also guiding its third-quarter results below consensus views.

Leading stocks get busy after the closing bell today, with earnings reports due out from Texas Roadhouse (TXRH), Trinseo (TSE) and Veeco Instruments (VECO).

Oil, Gold, International Markets

Oil slumped 1%, with West Texas Intermediate just above $41 a barrel. Gold was a fraction lower near $1,355 an ounce. The dollar rose, and the 10-year Treasury yield added 5 basis points to 1.50%.

Chinese markets notched a mixed session, while Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 tacked on a 0.4% gain. Europe’s markets dug deeper into their early losses in afternoon trade. The CAC 40 in Paris was down 0.7%. London’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.4%.