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U.S. stocks open little changed

NEW YORK - U.S. stocks opened little changed on Monday, holding near all-time highs, as investors waited for more signs about the strength of the economy and corporate earnings.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was unchanged at 2,032 as of 10:05 a.m. ET. The Dow Jones industrial average fell seven points to 17,567. The Nasdaq composite rose five points to 4,637.

Dean Foods, a milk distributor, jumped $1.65, or 11.2 percent, to $16.04, after the company reported a third-quarter loss that wasn't as bad as investors had anticipated.

This week investors will be taking stock of retail company earnings to gain insight into how much American shoppers are spending ahead of the holiday season. Macy's, Nordstrom and Wal-Mart will report their earnings.

The biggest development in Europe was news that Russia's central bank has decided to allow the ruble to trade freely. The move had been planned for next year. The ruble has come under sustained pressure in the face of Western sanctions over Ukraine and plummeting oil prices. The ruble has lost nearly half its value against the dollar this year. The move appears to have eased the pressure on the ruble, which strengthened sharply on the news, trading up 3.6 percent at around 45 rubles a dollar. Russia's benchmark RTS stock index rose 3.8 percent.

Amid a dearth of economic news in Europe, investors are remaining optimistic. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent and Germany's DAX rose 0.1 percent. The CAC-40 in France rose 0.2 percent.

China's trade growth slowed down in October, though the 11.6 percent rise in exports from a year earlier was still relatively robust. China's consumer inflation rate was steady amid signs of cooling economic growth. China's consumer price index rose 1.6 percent in October from a year earlier, the same increase as in September, reinforcing worries that a deeper slowdown is looming after growth slowed to 7.3 percent in the third quarter.

Oil prices continued to recover after hitting multi-year lows last week. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 24 cents to $78.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude rose 66 cents to $84.06 a barrel.

Bond prices were little changed from Friday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury edged up to 2.31 percent from 2.30 percent.

The dollar drifted lower in the wake of last Friday's slightly weaker than anticipated U.S. jobs data for October. It was down 0.2 percent against the Japanese yen to 114.49 yen. Against the euro, the U.S. currency was little