NEW YORK – Wall Street extended its November rally with modest gains Monday despite pressure from rising oil prices and a major restructuring plan at General Motors Corp (GM).
A raft of acquisition news carried some stocks higher, but volume was light and was expected to remain so ahead of Thanksgiving. There was also a muted reaction to a Conference Board report that the top economic indicators rose 0.9 percent last month, reversing an 0.8 percent decline in September.
The Standard & Poor's 500 and Nasdaq composite indexes pushed past four-year highs reached Friday as an improving economic backdrop energized the market. But many traders were awaiting indications of how retailers will fare during this year's holiday rush, which starts Friday.
"You're going to hear a lot of banter about (retail sales) this week because consumers are such a large part of the economy," said Art Hogan, chief market analyst for Jefferies & Co. Hogan said investors may react to early sales reports, "but it doesn't mean a whole lot until we have the hard data."
Meanwhile, forecasters said a nearing snowstorm could hit several northeastern states by midweek, pushing crude oil higher on renewed supply concerns. A barrel of light crude added 49 cents to $57.70 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 53.95, or 0.5 percent, to 10,820.28, the index's highest close since March 10. The advance also put the Dow into positive territory for the year.
Broader stock indicators were also higher. The S&P 500 added 6.58, or 0.53 percent, to 1,254.85, and the Nasdaq gained 14.60, or 0.66 percent, to 2,241.67. Both indexes remained at four-year highs.
Bonds rose, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note sliding to 4.47 percent from 4.5 percent late Friday. The U.S. dollar was mostly higher against other major currencies in European trading, while gold prices climbed.
GM raised by 5,000 to 30,000 the number of jobs it plans to cut in an effort to slash $7 billion of expenses by next year, $1 billion more than previously estimated. The ailing automaker is also shutting nine North American assembly plants and three service and parts facilities. GM sank 47 cents to $23.58.
Mergers and acquisitions again dominated the day's news. Mentor Corp. offered $2.2 billion in stock for Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., which refused the bid and said it is committed to its proposed takeover of Inamed Corp. Last week, Allergan Inc. outbid Medicis for Inamed with a $3.2 billion offer. Mentor dropped $4.79 to $51.35, Medicis surged $3.82 to $31.57, Allergan lost 65 cents to $99.60 and Inamed rose 2 cents to $83.33.
Nursing home operator Beverly Enterprises Inc. agreed to be bought by Fillmore Capital Partners for $1.5 billion, in addition to the assumption of about $300 million in debt. Fillmore's $12.50-per-share offer is below a previous $13 bid from North American Senior Care Inc. Beverly climbed 14 cents to $11.87.
But defense contractor Computer Sciences Corp. tumbled $6.47 to $48.38 after The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that Lockheed Martin Corp. and three private equity firms have ended talks of buying out the company. Lockheed, meanwhile, jumped $1.22 to $61.18.
Tech stocks got some positive news from TiVo Inc. (TIVO), which said it is expanding its video-recording service so users can upload television shows to Apple Computer Inc.'s iPods or Sony Corp (SNE).'s PlayStation Portable. TiVo gained 23 cents to $5.50, Apple rose 40 cents to $64.96 and Sony added $1.25 to $36.46.
Boeing Co. (BA) received orders for 26 of its new 787 Dreamliner passenger jets from International Lease Finance Corp., a unit of American International Group Inc., and Low-Cost Aircraft Leasing, which bought 20 and 6 planes, respectively. Boeing rose $2.05 to $69, and AIG finished up 46 cents at $67.63.
Advancing issues led decliners by more than 5 to 3 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume of 1.56 billion shares lagged the 1.81 billion shares changing hands at the same point Friday.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 6.74, or 1 percent, to 678.96.
Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average gained 0.39 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.02 percent, Germany's DAX index added 0.92 percent, and France's CAC-40 was higher by 0.66 percent.