US STOCKS-Wall St holds near flat as M&A counters Iraq worry
* U.S. considering talks with Iran over Iraq
* Medtronic to buy Covidien for $42.9 bln
* New York factory growth climbs in June
* Indexes off: Dow 0.16 pct, S&P 0.11 pct, Nasdaq 0.16 pct (Updates to late morning)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, June 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday, as caution caused by turmoil in Iraq was countered by a flurry of merger activity.
The United States is considering U.S. air strikes to help the Iraqi government fend off an Islamist insurgency, as well as possible discussions with neighboring Iran, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday.
"If the market really didn't back off because of (Iraq), people are concerned, they will keep watching it and unless it really implodes the market is just going to churn," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York.
Merger activity continued to support the market and keep declines in check. Medical device maker Medtronic Inc agreed to buy Dublin-based Covidien Plc for $42.9 billion and shift its executive headquarters to Ireland in the latest move by U.S. firms to harvest lower tax rates abroad. Medtronic shares shed 0.4 percent to $60.48 while Covidien jumped 21.6 percent to $87.58. Continuación...