US STOCKS-Wall St little changed as energy pares gains

lunes 23 de marzo de 2015 12:29 GYT

* Dollar weakens, supporting crude prices

* Gilead Pharma shares fall, biotech index down

* Indexes: Dow up 0.14 pct, S&P up 0.06 pct, Nasdaq off 0.13 pct (Updates prices, comment)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, March 23 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday, following strong gains in major indexes the previous week, as investors assessed gyrations in the dollar and crude prices and their impact on equities.

Gains expanded and contracted, tracking the behavior of energy stocks as crude oil prices were caught between the weakness in the U.S. dollar and concerns about oversupply. The S&P 500 energy sector rose 0.2 percent after earlier gaining as much as 0.9 percent.

The action in the dollar has closely affected stocks of late as traders focus on the Federal Reserve and its expected monetary policy tightening sometime later this year. The 20-day correlation between the dollar index and the S&P 500 sits at -0.79. The dollar index was down 0.8 percent on the day.

"The market has been in a back-and-forth motion for the last couple of weeks, caught between the potential for rising interest rates and its impact on the dollar and the feeling by investors that the economy is gaining some strength," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

"Oil is confusing for investors," he said. Its decline "puts more money in the pocket of consumers, but the drop has been so precipitous it creates problems for a large part of the market."   Continuación...