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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 19, 2005
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Stocks on stand-by
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NEW YORK Stocks are narrowly mixed and little changed as investors wait for word on interest rates from the Federal Reserve. Tech stocks are edging higher on talk of a possible merger in that sector.

The Dow Jones industrial average is down a fraction at ten-thousand-638. Decliners on the New York Stock Exchange hold an eight-to-seven lead over advancers.

The Nasdaq Composite Index has gained three points at 21-hundred-52.

And the Standard-and Poor's 500 Stock Index is up about a point at eleven-99.

Trading on the New York Stock Exchange during the first two hours totaled 508 (m) million shares. Volume on the Nasdaq Market came to 810 (m) million shares.

The Fed's Open Market Committee is widely seen raising the nation's benchmark interest rate by a quarter point, to two and a-quarter percent. The rate decision, along with the Fed's customary policy statement and economic outlook, is due at 2:15 Eastern time.

But right now, investors are disappointed with the latest reading of the nation's trade deficit, which surged to a record 55 and a-half billion dollars in October.

The recent run of merger news continues, with Symantec reportedly in talks to acquire Veritas Software for 13 (b) billion dollars. The New York Times says a deal could be announced later this week.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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