* China’s central bank cuts reserve requirement ratio
* Crude prices rise more than 1 pct
* Valeant drops as CEO returns, delays release of results
* Dow down 0.13 pct, S&P down 0.14 pct, Nasdaq up 0.03 pct (Updates to open)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Feb 29 (Reuters) - Wall Street was little changed on Monday as cautious investors assessed China’s move to boost its slowing economy and an increase in oil prices raised hopes that the market had bottomed out.
China’s central bank on Monday cut its reserve requirement ratio, or the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves, for the fifth time in a year.
Crude prices rose more than 1 percent after Saudi Arabia said it would work with other producers to limit oil market volatility. Shares of Chevron and Exxon were up about half a percent.
“Investors are stepping back to try and assess where global growth is going to be ... as well as monetary policies going forward,” said Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co in Florham Park, New Jersey.
At 9:45 a.m. ET (1445 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was down 21.84 points, or 0.13 percent, at 16,618.13, the S&P 500 was down 2.82 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,945.23 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 1.46 points, or 0.03 percent, at 4,591.93.
Seven of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher.
The S&P 500 is poised to snap a two-month losing streak and end with a meager gain in February, after recovering from one of its worst starts to a year.
The index closed above its 50-day moving average on Friday, which some traders say is a sign of improving sentiment.
Strong data, including improving consumer spending trends, released last week suggested the U.S. economy was recovering better than expected, raising expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike rates this year.
Federal funds futures implied traders see a 38 percent chance a hike in June and a 57 percent chance in December, according to CME Group’s FedWatch program.
New York Fed President William Dudley is slated to speak on policy at a banking conference in China.
Shares of Valeant were down 7 percent at $75 after the Canadian drugmaker said its chief executive would return from medical leave, and it delayed the release of its quarterly results.
Icahn Enterprises was up 4.5 percent at $60 after the activist investor offered to buy the rest of Federal Mogul . Shares of the auto parts maker soared 49 percent to $7.62.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,549 to 1,113. On the Nasdaq, 1,261 issues rose and 1,001 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed one new 52-week high and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 13 new highs and 12 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)