9154402888_6cc7feecb6_bNEW YORK, March 13 (Reuters) – Major U.S. stock indexes paused on Monday as investors braced for a potential U.S. interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve later in the week, while oil prices hovered near three-month lows.

The dollar steadied against a basket of currencies after touching a two-week low.

Friday’s strong U.S. employment report solidified a view among Wall Street’s top banks that the Federal Reserve will boost interest rates when its policymakers meet this week. With a rate hike widely expected, market watchers will be looking for signals about the pace of future increases.

“Other than the Fed on Wednesday, I don’t see anything going on to make any decisions on,” said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 21.5 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,881.48, the S&P 500 gained 0.87 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,373.47 and the Nasdaq Composite added 14.06 points, or 0.24 percent, to 5,875.78.

Corporate deal-making continued as chips giant Intel said it would acquire driverless technology firm Mobileye for $15.3 billion. Mobileye shares jumped 28 percent. In Europe, Amec Foster Wheeler rallied 11.6 percent after oil services company Wood Group agreed to buy the company for $2.7 billion. The pan-European STOXX 600 index gained 0.4 percent, led by increases in mining shares. MSCI’s all-country world stock index rose 0.3 percent. read moreĀ via GLOBAL MARKETS-Wall St on hold before U.S. rate decision; oil at 3-month lows |

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