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The markets roared higher Monday, ending close to session highs, as traders cheered apparent progress on negotiations aimed at averting the fiscal cliff. It was the first triple-digit gain of December for the blue-chip average.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 100 points, or 0.76%, to 13235, the S&P 500 jumped 16.8 points, or 1.2%, to 1430 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 39.3 points, or 1.3%, to 3011.
Every major sector closed the day in the green, helping the broad S&P 500 close at its highest level since October 22.
Trading desks remained somewhat fixated on talks to avert the fiscal cliff that is looming just weeks away. Without a deal, the world's biggest economy is set to be pounded by painful spending cuts and tax increases.
As of late last week, a deal seemed far out of reach, with Democrats and Republicans continuing to lob criticism at one another. However, a source close to House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner told FOX Business there was a framework under discussion that included $1 trillion in spending cuts and $1 trillion in new revenue. A source also said President Barack Obama and Speaker Boehner were meeting at the White House for further discussions.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was another focus on Monday after Citigroup cut its rating on the tech titan to neutral from buy. It also cut its price target by $100 to $575. Morgan Stanley offered a differing view, with its analysts saying Sunday "despite concerns to the contrary, iPhone and iPad demand remain strong." The investment bank has Apple rated as overweight with a price target of $714.
Since the company's market capitalization is nearly half a trillion dollars, big movements tend to impact the broader markets, especially the technology-heavy Nasdaq.
Also on the corporate front, Sprint (NYSE:S) said it will acquire a 100% stake in Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLRW) for $2.2 billion. The deal values the company at roughly $10 billion, including debt.
The economic calendar was fairly light on the day. The New York Federal Reserve said manufacturing in the Empire State region contracted at a faster pace in December than it did the month prior. The gauge came in at -8.1, down from -5.22, and considerably weaker than the -1 economists expected.
Energy futures were mixed. The benchmark crude contract rose 47 cents, or 0.54%, to $87.20 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline was down 0.28% to $2.655 a gallon. In metals, gold drifted higher by $1.20, or 0.07%, to $1,698 a troy ounce.
The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.1% to 2628, the English FTSE 100 slumped 0.16% to 5912 and the German DAX rose 0.11% to 7605.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rallied 0.94% to 9829 and the Chinese Hang Seng tilted lower by 0.41% to 22514.
Rich Edson contributed reporting from Washington, D.C.