After posting an average quarterly gain of 5.5 percent since the beginning of last year, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose less than 1 percent in the third quarter.
The life sciences company Sigma-Aldrich was the top performer with a climb of 34.0 percent. Investors bought up shares following news that it would be acquired by Merck KGaA of Germany for approximately $17 billion.
The shares of several offshore oil drillers were at the bottom of the index, all ending the quarter at a 52-week low.Associated Press
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