By Riva Gold

U.S. stocks edged higher Monday, but major indexes were on track for monthly declines.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2 points, or less than 0.1%, to 18163. The S&P 500 added 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.1%.

The Dow industrials were on pace to fall for a third consecutive month, which would be their longest stretch of declines since a five-month stretch in 2011. The Nasdaq Composite was poised to snap a three-month winning streak.

After more than 300 companies in the S&P 500 have reported their quarterly earnings, according to FactSet, investors are anticipating another busy week of results, as well as central bank meetings later in the week and the monthly U.S. jobs report due Friday.

On Monday, shares of General Electric added 0.9% after the company reached a deal to combine its oil-and-gas business with Baker Hughes, whose shares edged down 0.2% after rallying last week. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the companies were in talks about a potential transaction.

Shares of Level 3 Communications rose 4.9% after CenturyLink said it reached a cash-and stock deal to buy the communications company for roughly $25 billion. Shares of CenturyLink fell 10%.

The news followed a series of high-profile deals announced last week, while Japan's three largest shipping companies also said Monday that they would merge their container-shipping operations.

Recent improvements in bank earnings and a flurry of mergers and acquisitions are helping supportsentiment around the stock market, said Benjardin Gärtner, head of equities at Union Investment.

"It reflects good financing conditions, and more confidence in the economic and business outlook," Mr. Gärtner said.

The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.5%, with the oil and gas sector leading declines. U.S. crude declined 1.8% to $47.83 a barrel on doubts about whether the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would reach a consensus on cutting production.

Shares in Asia broadly declined after U.S. stocks ended Friday a touch lower. Sentiment on Wall Street soured slightly after the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was reviewing new evidence in connection with its investigation of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's email server, just over a week before the election.

"Jitters about the election are bleeding into global markets," said Chris Hare, an economist at Investec.

Markets in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Japan slipped around 0.1%, while Korea's Kospi fell 0.6% after a weekend protest against South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

The British pound fell 0.3% against the dollar to $1.2159 following mixed media reports around Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney's plans to serve out a full eight-year term.

It comes ahead of a Bank of England meeting on Thursday, where officials are expected to announce whether they will ease policy further this month after launching a multipronged stimulus in August.

The Bank of Japan also concludes its policy meeting on Tuesday, while the Federal Reserve ends its latest meeting Wednesday. No action is expected on interest rates just ahead of the U.S. election, but investors' expectations have solidified for a rate rise in December.

The WSJ Dollar Index inched up 0.2% Monday, recovering slightly from Friday's setback, while the euro fell 0.4% against the dollar to $1.0944.

Government bonds firmed after a selloff last week pushed yields to five-month highs. The yield on the 10-year German government bond edged slightly lower to 0.161% on Monday, while the 10-year Treasury note was at 1.831% compared with 1.847% on Friday. The 10-year U.K. gilt yield edged down to 1.245%. Yields move inversely to prices.

Write to Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 31, 2016 10:47 ET (14:47 GMT)

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