Stocks marched higher in afternoon trading Monday as investors cheered several corporate deals, including AECOM Technology's $4 billion acquisition of engineering and construction services company URS. Citigroup's latest earnings helped lift JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 10 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,977 as of 2:53 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 121 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,065. The Nasdaq composite added 29 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,444.
REGAINING CONFIDENCE: Last week the S&P 500 lost 0.9 percent, its worst showing since April. Concern about Portugal's Espirito Santo International, which reportedly missed a debt payment last week, harked back to issues that spawned Europe's debt crisis. But investors appeared to be reassured any problems would be contained.
EYES ON EARNINGS: With the market trading near all-time highs, investors will be focused this week on a slew of corporate earnings, including quarterly reports from General Electric, Google, Bank of America and Johnson & Johnson.
"The earnings numbers are expected to be pretty good," said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investments. "We got started off with a very good report out of Citibank this morning. And economic news this week — retail sales, capacity utilization, housing data, confidence data — is all supposed to be pretty good."
CITI: Citigroup's adjusted earnings and revenue came in better than analysts had estimated. The bank also agreed to pay $7 billion to settle a federal investigation into the mortgage bonds it sold ahead of the financial crisis in 2008. Citi's stock rose $1.48, or 3.2 percent, to $48.49.
BANKING ON BANKS: Several other big investment banks also rose. Morgan Stanley added 0.55, or 1.8 percent, to $31.96, while Goldman Sachs rose $2.08, or 1.3 percent, to $166.88. JPMorgan Chase climbed 68 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $56.48.
A DEAL: Generic drugmaker Mylan said it will buy Abbott Laboratories' generic-drug business in developed markets for $5.3 billion. The combined company will be organized in the Netherlands, which will cut its tax bill. The company will keep its headquarters near Pittsburgh. Mylan's stock added $1.20, or 2.4 percent, to $51.40, while shares of Abbott gained 32 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $41.62.
SWEETENED BID: Kindred Healthcare is offering more cash for shares of Gentiva Health Services. Kindred said Monday it will pay $16 per share to buy up to a 14.9 percent stake in Gentiva, just short of the 15 percent limit imposed by a shareholder rights plan that Gentiva's board adopted earlier this year. Shares of Kindred climbed 33 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $24.71, while Gentiva gained 46 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $16.28.
BUYER'S MARKET: Kodiak Oil & Gas agreed to sell itself to Whiting Petroleum in an all-stock deal. Kodiak rose 65 cents, or 4.6 percent, to $14.89. Whiting jumped $5.65, or 7.2 percent, to $84.18. Meanwhile, engineering and construction services company URS agreed to be acquired by engineering design firm AECOM Technology for $4 billion. URS vaulted $6.02, or 11.6 percent, to $58.04, while AECOM gained $2.74, or, 8.6 percent, to $34.51.
SECTOR WATCH: Eight of the 10 sectors in S&P 500 index rose, led by technology. Utilities and materials lagged. Among the biggest decliners in the S&P 500 were luxury clothing maker Michael Kors, which slid $2.90, or 3.3 percent to $85.90.
BONDS: In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.55 percent from 2.52 percent late Friday.