The S&P 500 traded into record high territory on Monday as the markets started the week off on a strong note.
A rally in U.S. stocks was sparked in part by better than expected consumer spending for March. Stocks closed off their best levels of the session, but all of the major averages recorded strong gains, including a triple digit move in the Dow.
The euro also rallied on Monday, while the greenback fell. In commodities, corn contracts were a big winner, notching a gain of over 6 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 106 points, or 0.72 percent, to 14,819.
The S&P 500 climbed 11 points, or 0.72 percent, to 1,594.
The Nasdaq Composite gained 28 points, or 0.85 percent, to close at 3,307.
Personal Income and Spending
Both personal income and spending rose 0.2 percent for the month of March. This compared to consensus estimates that called for income to increase by 0.3 percent and spending to rise 0.1 percent. The personal savings rate remained steady at 2.7 percent, well below the 3.5 percent it averaged for most of 2012.
Crude oil moved higher along with the stock market on Monday. Near the close of equities, NYMEX crude futures had risen around 1.27 percent to $94.18. Brent crude futures were last trading up 0.51 percent to $103.69. Natural gas contracts registered a gain of nearly 4 percent on the session and were last trading at $4.39.
Precious metals were also strongly higher on the day. At last check, COMEX gold futures were up roughly 1 percent to $1,468.60. Silver contracts had added a little less than 2 percent to $24.23. Copper futures climbed roughly 1 percent on the session.
Grain prices were mostly higher to start the week, and corn soared. At last check, corn futures were up around 6.50 percent while wheat climbed almost 3.50 percent. In the soft commodity complex, movers included orange juice, which rose almost 3 percent, and cotton which added nearly 2 percent.
Bond prices were slightly lower on the day as stocks rose. Near the close, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE: TLT) had lost 0.30 percent to $123.05.
The yield on the 2-Year Note was unchanged at 0.21 percent while the 5-Year Note yield fell one basis point to 0.67 percent.
The 10-Year Note yield was also unchanged at 1.67 percent and the 30-Year Bond yield added one basis point to 2.87 percent.
The U.S. dollar was lower on Monday. Near the close of equity trading, the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE: UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, was trading down 0.40 percent to $22.32.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair rose better than 0.50 percent on Monday to $1.3096. Other movers included the USD/CAD, which fell 0.59 percent, and the AUD/USD, which rose around 0.75 percent.
Volatility and Volume
Late in the day, the VIX was actually trading up 0.22 percent to 13.64 despite a strong rally in the stock market. Overall, volatility expectations remain low.
Volume was very light on Monday with only around 75 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) shares trading hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 128 million.
Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) jumped around 10 percent after Alibaba purchased a 18 percent stake in the company's Weibo service.
Conceptus (NASDAQ: CPTS) climbed more than 19 percent on the session after the company agreed to be acquired by Bayer HealthCare for $31.00 per share or approximately $1.1 billion.
Medidata Solutions (NASDAQ: MDSO) was trading up almost 22 percent near the close after the company's first-quarter earnings results came in better than expected. Medidata also provided a bullish Q2 revenue outlook and lifted its full-year view.
Nam Tai Electronics (NYSE: NTE) plunged more than 31 percent in late trade after the company warned that it may need to halt production of liquid crystal display modules unless market conditions improve.
Latin America wireless-service provider NII Holdings (NASDAQ: NIHD) rose more than 5 percent after analysts at Wells Fargo upgraded the stock to Outperform.
Sinclair Broadcast Group (NASDAQ: SBGI) fell around 3 percent after announcing a secondary offering of shares.
Moody's (NYSE: MCO) traded up around 8 percent after subsidiary Standard & Poor's settled two long-running lawsuits late on Friday. The cases were dismissed with prejudice.
Lexicon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: LXRX) traded down around 12 percent on concerns raised by a diabetes partnership formed between Merck (NYSE: MRK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE).
Choice Hotels (NYSE: CHH) fell nearly 11 percent on above average volume after the company's fiscal first-quarter earnings results.
Angie's List (NASDAQ: ANGI) gave back some of last week's gains which came in the wake of the company's fiscal first-quarter earnings results, with the shares closing down 5 percent.
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