The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rallied 134 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 14 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 43 points. For the quarter, the Dow edged slightly lower, while the S&P and Nasdaq inched higher.
Microsoft (MSFT) led today's advance, gaining nearly 2 percent. The company's new CEO started to put his stamp on the company, naming new leaders at three of Microsoft's most important divisions.
Other blue chip leaders include: IBM (IBM), United Technologies (UTX) and Visa (V), all of which were up more than 1 percent on the day.
Biotech stocks rebounded from a rough couple of weeks. Industry leader Amgen (AMGN) gained more than 2 percent after its new cholesterol drug proved effective in a clinical trial. And Biogen Idec (BIIB) gained 4 percent after the FDA approved its treatment for a type of hemophilia.
Other gainers in the sector: Alnylam (ALNY) rose 9 percent, Gilead (GILD) gained and Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP) both rose more than 3 percent.
But some of the other so-called momentum stocks continued to drift lower. Netflix (NFLX) lost 2 percent. It's now in the red for the year. Amazon.com (AMZN), Google (GOOG) and Tesla Motors (TSLA) all edged lower, but Facebook (FB) posted a gain. It slid 11 percent last week after making a $2 billion dollar acquisition of virtual-reality goggle maker Oculus.
Airline stocks took off. United (UAL) rose almost 4 percent, while American Airlines (AAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) both rose about 3.5 percent.
Elsewhere, Cal-Maine Foods (CALM), a leading marketer of eggs, jumped 9.5 percent as earnings topped expectations.
Panera Bread (PNRA) gained 1.5 percent as Wedbush Securities raised its rating to outperform.
And Micron Technologies (MU) jumped 8 percent ahead of earnings later this week.
What to Watch Tuesday:
- Automakers release U.S. vehicle sales for March throughout the day.
- The Commerce Department releases construction spending for February and the Institute for Supply Management releases its manufacturing index for March, both at 10 a.m. Eastern time.
- General Motors (GM) CEO Mary Barra testifies about auto recalls during a hearing before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.