NEW YORK, July 2 (Reuters) - Mid- and smallcap stocks were little changed on Monday as economic data pointing to a slowdown in the economic recovery offset a flurry of merger activity.
The Institute for Supply Management's index of national factory activity fell to 49.7 from 53.5 the month before, short of the 52.0 estimate and the first time since July 2009 the index has fallen below 50, which signifies contraction.
"This is clearly very, very troubling - it indicates that at least in the month of June the manufacturing sector of the economy contracted and there is meaningful evidence of, at a minimum, disinflation," said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer of Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC in Albany, New York.
But indexes managed to stay near the unchanged mark as a batch of merger activity helped soften the blow from the weak data.
Midcap Lincare Holdings Inc jumped 21.4 percent to $41.32 after the maker of of oxygen and respiratory therapy services to patients in the home agreed to be acquired by German industrial gas producer Linde AG for $4.6 billion.
Smallcap BrightPoint Inc surged 63.2 percent to $8.83 after the company agreed to be acquired by its larger technology distributor rival Ingram Micro Inc for about $650 million in cash.
The S&P MidCap 400 index advanced 0.2 percent while the S&P SmallCap 600 index dipped 0.3 percent. In comparison, the benchmark S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent.
Both the midcap and smallcap indexes posted their best percentage gains of the year in the prior session, bolstered by an agreement by European leaders to stabilize the region's banks.
Silicon wafer maker MEMC Electronic Materials Inc soared 21.7 percent to $2.64 after the midcap said it closed sales contracts for four solar projects in Europe totalling 98 megawatts in the second quarter.
Acuity Brands Inc climbed 15.2 percent to $58.64 after the maker of lighting fixtures posted a third-quarter profit that beat market estimates.
OpenTable Inc slumped 11.2 percent after Barclays Capital downgraded the online restaurant-booking service to "equal weight" from "overweight", citing a fall in seated diner reservations through the second quarter and less-than-expected restaurant additions.