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The markets tacked on solid gains on Monday, pushing the S&P 500 up to a fresh closing high, as traders cheered strong economic data and corporate headlines.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 106 points, or 0.72%, to 14819, the S&P 500 gained 11.4 points, or 0.72%, to 1594 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 27.8 points, or 0.85%, to 3307.
The broad S&P 500 closed the day just slightly above its all-time closing high. On the day, the technology sector posted the biggest gains, with heavyweights Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and IBM (IBM) rallying. Other sectors that performed well were energy and materials on the back of big gains in the underlying commodities.
Earnings season slows down slightly this week, but the pace of economic reports picks up substantially.
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The Commerce Department said personal income and consumer spending rose 0.2% in March from February. Economists expected income to rise 0.4% and spending to have remained unchanged. Analysts at Nomura wrote to clients that accelerated dividend payments late last year, coupled with bonuses, pushed incomes sharply higher in February. However, they said, the gains are expected to have slowed dramatically in March as those special factors wore off.
Separately, the National Association of Realtors reported signed contracts to buy previously-owned homes jumped 1.5% in March on a month-to-month basis, which came in stronger than estimates of a 1% gain. The forward-looking gauge is up 7% compared to the same month in 2012 in the latest sign the housing recovery is continuing.
Among the high-profile events this week are a two-day Federal Reserve meeting that kicks off on Tuesday and the all-important monthly jobs report on Friday. Data on the labor market has been especially closely watched after the economy added far fewer jobs than expected in March, putting into question the strength of the recovery.
In corporate news, Frank Bisignano resigned a Co-Chief Operating Officer at J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) to become chief executive at First Data. Matt Zames now becomes the sole COO at the biggest U.S. bank by assets.
In metals, gold prices posted sharp gains. The benchmark contract rallied $20.20, or 1.4%, to $1,474 a troy ounce. Oil climbed 35 cents, or 0.38%, to $93.35 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline slipped 0.62% to $2.817 a gallon.
The Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.66% to 2701, the English FTSE 100 edged up 0.07% to 6431 and the German DAX advanced 0.4% to 7846.
In Asia, the Chinese Hang Seng pushed higher by 0.15% to 22581. Markets in Japan and most others in China were closed for holidays.