US stocks drift in early trading; Starwood up on deal news

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Stocks are off to a mixed start as the market comes off its fifth straight week of gains.

Banks and technology companies were leading the gains early Monday, and several companies were moving on deal news.

Starwood Hotels jumped 4 percent after agreeing to a new offer to be acquired by Marriott International.

Valeant Pharmaceutical rose 1 percent after its CEO stepped down. Activist investor Bill Ackman will join the troubled company's board.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged down eight points, less than 0.1 percent, to 17,597 in the first few minutes of trading.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down a fraction at 2,049 and the Nasdaq composite edged up three points to 4,799.