Exxon (XOM) and IBM (IBM) led the blue chips higher Monday as investors moved beyond talk about Fed tapering, at least for a day. After two straight weekly losses, the major averages posted strong gains to open the new week.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rallied 129 points, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) gained 28, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose 11 points.
Among the blue chips, Exxon Mobil gained 2 percent after Goldman Sachs raised its rating to 'buy' from 'neutral.' Exxon shares hit an all-time high. IBM jumped 3 percent, but it's still the year's biggest loser among the Dow 30.
Among online retailers, eBay (EBAY) rose 3 percent. An article in Barron's said the stock could gain 20 percent. Amazon (AMZN) added 1 percent.
Another theme today was mergers and acquisitions. Sprint (S) is reportedly interested in buying T-Mobile US (TMUS). Both stocks rallied when the story broke just before the close on Friday, but they gave back some of those gains Monday. Sprint lost 1 percent, while T-Mobile fell 4.5 percent.
Also, Singapore-based chip maker Avago has agreed to buy LSI (LSI) for $6.6 billion. Both stocks rallied. LSI soared 39 percent and Avago gained 10 percent. And AIG (AIG) has agreed to sell its International Lease Financing unit for $5.4 billion. Its stock gained more than 1 percent. And Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) gained 4 percent after agreeing to buy Solta Medical (SLTM). Solta jumped 40 percent, but still trades for less than $3 a share.
Herbalife (HLF) jumped 9 percent after releasing new audits for the past three years that show no material changes, despite charges that it is run like a Ponzi scheme.
And finally, Twitter (TWTR) fell 4 percent after downgrades from Wells Fargo and SunTrust. But Twitter is still up 29 percent over the past month.
What to Watch Tuesday:
- Commerce Department releases current account trade deficit for the third quarter, 8:30 a.m. Eastern.
- Labor Department releases Consumer Price Index for November, 8:30 a.m.
- National Association of Home Builders releases housing market index for December, 10 a.m.
- Federal Reserve policymakers begin a two-day meeting to set interest rates.