NEW YORK -- Technology companies led the stock market higher Monday, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 index above the all-time closing high it reached earlier this month.
A pair of strong economic reports also encouraged investors. Wages and spending rose in the U.S. last month, and pending home sales hit their highest level in three years.
Shortly before 1:30 p.m. , the S&P 500 index (GSPX) was up 12 points at 1,594, a gain of 0.7 percent. That put the index above the record closing high of 1,593.36 it reached on April 11.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 96 points to 14,808, a gain of 0.7 percent. Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and IBM (IBM) were among the Dow's best performers, rising 2 percent each.
Concerns about weak business spending and slower overseas sales have cast a shadow over big tech firms, said Marty Leclerc, the managing partner of Barrack Yard Advisors, an investment firm in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Revenue misses from IBM and other big tech companies have highlighted the industry's vulnerability to the world economy. But Leclerc thinks tech companies with steady revenue and plenty of cash look appealing over the long term.
Information technology stocks rose the most of the 10 industry groups in the S&P Monday, up 1.5 percent. It's the only group that remains lower over the past year, down 2 percent, versus the S&P 500's gain of 14 percent.
The Nasdaq composite rose 32 points at 3,311, a rise of 1 percent. Apple Inc. (AAPL), the biggest stock in the index, rose 3.5 percent to $431.95.
The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes reached the highest level since April 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors. Back then, a tax credit for buying houses had lifted sales. Americans' spending and income both edged up last month, the government reported Monday.
Moody's and Standard & Poor's parent company McGraw-Hill Cos. (MHP) surged following news that the ratings agencies settled lawsuits dating back to the financial crisis that accused them of concealing risky investments. McGraw-Hill gained 6 percent to $54.80, while Moody's jumped 10 percent to $61.02, the biggest gain in the S&P 500.
Manufacturer Eaton Corp. (ETN) rose 5 percent to $61.31 after reporting that its quarterly net income jumped, beating Wall Street's estimates. The results were helped by its acquisition of Cooper Industries, an electrical equipment supplier.
In the market for government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 1.66 percent, close to its low for the year. That's down from 1.67 percent late Friday.