US STOCKS-Markets flat as focus shifts to vote, Fed

* Investors look ahead to Fed meeting, elections

* U.S., China factory data lift some sectors

* Dow, S&P flat, Nasdaq down 0.1 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to afternoon trading, changes byline)

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Nov 1 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) were little changed
on Monday as investors were reluctant to make bets ahead of
U.S. elections and a Federal Reserve meeting that is expected
to bring further stimulus to the economy.

Despite the cautiousness, industrial and energy shares
gained after reports of strength in U.S. and Chinese
manufacturing data underscored the view that the recovery
continues.

Monday’s data was “very strong,” David Kupersmith, the head
trader at the Greenwich, Connecticut-based Third Wave Global
Investors, said. Stock indices gained more than 1 percent in
early trading.

But “the focus will be on the elections and the Fed this
week, so the impact from this won’t be as strong as it would
have been otherwise,” Kupersmith said.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) was down 1.14
points, or 0.01 percent, at 11,117.35. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) was up 0.29 points, or 0.02 percent, at
1,183.55. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) was down 2.48
points, or 0.10 percent, at 2,504.93.

If the election results in the Republican Party taking
control of the House, as polls indicate, the Obama
administration’s ability to enact its agenda would be in
jeopardy. Among the main Obama-backed laws recently enacted
were overhauling healthcare and financial regulation.

Traders said the energy sector could flourish after
Republican election gains as there will be less chance of
increased regulation. [ID:nUSVOTE]

The Fed is expected to announce on Wednesday it will
relaunch heavy bond buying. Most analysts expect the size and
the scope of asset purchases to be about $100 billion a month,
starting with a plan to buy $500 billion in bonds between now
and early 2011.

Stocks have gained more than 12 percent since the start of
September on the hopes of Fed monetary easing and Republican
gains in Tuesday’s vote as well as from stronger-than-expected
earnings.

“If things don’t come out as expected, there could be
significant downside because there’s so little liquidity in the
markets,” said Mike Holland, who oversees more than $4 billion
as chairman of Holland & Co in New York.

“Investors have priced in certain expected benefits from
the Fed and elections, and what markets are squaring away now
are any possible surprises.”

Volume is low as many traders are reluctant to make major
bets ahead of those events. The CBOE Volatility index (.VIX: )
rose to 22.03.

The S&P energy index (.GSPE: ) rose 0.9 percent as reports
showed U.S. factory activity in October expanded and
construction spending rose unexpectedly in September. Other
data showed manufacturing in China expanded at the fastest pace
in six months in October. For details, see [ID:nEAP101100]
[ID:nCLA1ME66Q]

On the Dow, Caterpillar (CAT.N: ) rose 1.4 percent to $79.65
while Exxon Mobil (XOM.N: ) climbed 1 percent to $67.13. December
crude futures surged 2.2 percent to $83.21 per barrel.

Weighing on the Nasdaq was Amazon.com (AMZN.O: ), down 1.6
percent at $162.62. The stock fell 2.3 percent last week but
was up 32 percent from the beginning of September through the
end of October.

Weakness in the euro against the dollar also helped to
limit the advance. The dollar has developed an inverse
relationship with stocks.

In the financial sector, M&T Bank Corp (MTB.N: ) rose 4.5
percent to $78.12 after news it would buy Wilmington Trust Corp
(WL.N: ) in a deal worth $351 million. Shares of Wilmington fell
42.5 percent to $4.09. [ID:nSGE6A00EV]

Baker Hughes Inc (BHI.N: ) rose 5.2 percent to $48.73 after
it reported a third-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) that beat expectations.
[ID:nN29195713].

(Editing by Kenneth Barry)

US STOCKS-Markets flat as focus shifts to vote, Fed