Stocks Climb at Start of Holiday-Shortened Week

Markets Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks inched higher on Monday, sending key indexes into record territory, as the decision by China's central bank to ease monetary policy last week continued to support global equity markets.

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Equities in Asia rallied, while European stocks rose after better-than-expected data in Germany.

The S&P 500 (SPX) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) topped their previous closing records. The Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) rose as biotechnology sector stocks rallied.

The economic calendar is light with just the Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey due at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time. But later in the week, investors will receive a stack of updates on housing, inflation and a revision in third-quarter gross domestic product for the U.S.

U.S. stocks ended Friday's session higher, guided by gains in the materials sector after China moved to bolster its economy by cutting interest rates.

Need to know: Relax, stocks will rise only 5% next year

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OPEC spotlight: Energy stocks also rose ahead of Thursday's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, where members are facing calls to cut production to counteract the recent slide in crude-oil prices. Ahead of Wall Street's open, light, sweet crude futures for January delivery (CLF5) turned lower, but remained above $76 a barrel, which until recently represented a four-year low for the price of oil.

"Plenty of headwinds to OPEC action remain, but we see greater prospects for either a stronger enforcement of the quota or an outright cut of the quota," said Morgan Stanley commodity analysts led by Adam Longson, in a Monday note.

A rising likelihood that a Monday deadline on an agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program will be extended may factor into decisions at OPEC, "but even last week, Libya called for stronger enforcement of the existing 30 mmb/d quota, and most oil exporters are calling for at least some action to settle oil markets," said Morgan Stanley.

Stocks to watch:Tesla (TSLA) is in talks with German automaker BMW about working together to develop batteries and collaborate over light-weight parts, Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk told German weekly Der Spiegel. Shares were slightly lower.

Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) price target at Susquehanna was raised to $135 from $120. Shares were up 0.3% at $116.81.

Diversified industrial conglomerate United Technologies Corp. (UTX) said Chairman and Chief Executive Louis Chenevert will retire, effective immediately, after 22 years with the company. United Technologies also affirmed its 2014 per-share earnings and sales outlooks. Shares were slightly higher.

Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) shares fell after the company posted flat profit on revenue growth of 13% for the third quarter.

For more about today's movers, read our regular Movers & Shakers column.

Other markets: European stocks got a bang out of the Germany's IFO business-climate survey, and the Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite indexes each leapt nearly 2% in a first chance to react to China's rate cuts. Read Craig Stephen's column on whether investors should buy into China's rate-move.

Gold futures (GCZ4) was mostly unchanged at $1,198 an ounce, and the dollar(USDJPY) topped Yen118.