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US stocks flat ahead of key data, ECB meeting

Wall Street stocks finished little changed on Monday, essentially pausing after two good weeks for equities and ahead of key economic data.

Major US indices had won solid gains last week, boosted by news the United States and China will resume high-level trade talks next month. Recent US economic data has been mixed.

Investors are in "wait and see" mode, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities.

"It's a case of having a two-week winning streak and not much of a rethink on it," he added.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.1 percent at 26,835.51.

The broad-based S&P 500 was essentially flat at 2,978.43, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.2 percent to 8,087.44.

This week's calendar includes reports on consumer prices and retail sales for August. The European Central Bank is also expected to announce new stimulus measures.

But Hogan said those events were in the latter end of the week, leaving investors with few signals to trade on until then.

US stocks were under pressure much of August amid escalations in the US-China trade war and gloomier sentiment on the global economy. But markets have pivoted somewhat as the calendar turned to September.

Banks rose as Treasury yields gained and some bank executives projected a less serious hit to profits from lower interest rates. Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan all gained at least 2.5 percent.

AT&T climbed 1.5 percent after activist fund Elliott Management announced it had taken a $3.2 billion stake in the telecom giant and would press for asset sales, spending cuts and shareholder distributions.

Acadia Pharmaceuticals shot up 63.2 percent after announcing positive clinical results from a trial for a new treatment for dementia-related psychosis.