Stocks were at record highs, but now they're in the red

Stocks are lower but little changed after an early rally briefly pushed the Dow to an intra-day record high.

Near 10:11 a.m. ET, the Dow was down 12 points, the S&P 500 was down 1 point, and the Nasdaq was up less than a point.

Earlier on Monday, the Dow climbed to 18,289.54 points, passing its previous record of 18,288.63.

The pullback in stocks happened after 10:00 a.m., when data showed that homebuilder sentiment missed economists’ expectations in May.

The National Association of Homebuilders’ index came in at 54, below expectations for 57, and after a prior reading of 56.

The association noted that the index is still above the 50-point benchmark despite the drop.

The big news to start the week was a $US2 billion merger between Ascena Retail Group and Ann Taylor.

Ascena is acquiring Ann Taylor for $US47 per share in cash and stock, a 21% premium from Ann Taylor’s closing price on Friday.

Ann Taylor was up by as much as 20% in early trading; Ascena rose by around 2%.

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