Financial, Energy Shares Lift Dow

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Strong performance across many financial and energy-related blue chips pushed the Dow mildly into positive territory on Monday.

Today's Markets

As of 12:00 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18.8 points, or 0.14%, to 13252, the S&P 500 rose 6.1 points, or 0.43%, to 1410 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 20.7 points, or 0.68%, to 3076.

American Express (NYSE:AXP) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) both tacked on solid gains on the day. Energy giants ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) were both to the upside as well. The four stocks with their high share prices contributed roughly 20 points to the Dow's overall performance.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled plans on Monday to begin paying a $2.65 a share quarterly dividend beginning in July. The world’s largest company also said it has authorized a $10 billion share repurchase program. The iPad maker currently has roughly $100 billion in cash and expects this program to cost $45 billion over the next three years. Shares were up nearly 2%, hovering about all-time highs.

Other technology stocks like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) posted strong gains as well.

Also on the corporate front, UPS (NYSE:UPS), the world's biggest package delivery company, sealed a deal to scoop up Dutch TNT Express for $6.9 billion, significantly boosting its foothold in Europe.

The markets have been powering higher this year. Indeed, the S&P 500, a broad barometer of Wall Street's performance, has rallied for five-straight weeks and is up close to 12% to its highest level since 2008. Conversely, volatility has plunged to its lowest level since 2007 and traders have flocked out of safe-haven assets like U.S. Treasuries and German bunds.

Without one key release that is expected to drive sentiment, market participants are questioning whether the recent upswing can hang on to its momentum.

"This week is absolutely vital for the markets in our view," analysts at Nomura wrote in a note to clients on Monday, adding that it is yet uncertain whether the flight to risk will pick up steam or reverse.

10-year Treasury bond fell for the fifth-straight day on Monday, pushing the yield higher by 0.088-percentage point to 2.384%. The yield is now the highest since October 2007.

Commodities were mostly higher, helped by a stronger euro. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York rose $1.03, or 0.96%, to $108.09 a barrel. Wholesale RBOB gasoline climbed 1.1% to $3.368 a gallon.

Gold edged higher by $11.50, or 0.32%, to $1,667 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

European blue chips were flat, the English FTSE 100 slumped 0.07% to 5608 and the German DAX fell 0.05% to 7154.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rose 0.12% to 10142 and the Chinese Hang Seng dipped 0.95% to 21115.