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Dow climbs back over 15,000

NEW YORKStocks made strong gains on Monday after encouraging economic reports from China and Japan and a pair of big corporate buyouts in the the U.S.

Investors were impressed by a Koch Industries' $6.9 billion deal for Molex, an electronics component maker. Apple rose; the company is expected to announce a new iPhone on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a Canadian pension organization and a U.S. private equity investor announced a $6 billion buyout of luxury retailer Neiman Marcus.

Among the 10 industry groups in the Standard & Poor's 500 index, only telecommunications fell.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 139 points, or nearly 1 percent, to 15,062. The Dow last closed above 15,000 on Aug. 23.

The S&P 500 index rose 16 points, or 1 percent, to 1,671. The Nasdaq composite rose 46 points, or 1.26 percent, to 3,706.

Koch Industries plans to buy Molex, an electronic components and cables maker, for $38.50 per share, a 31 percent premium to the company's stock price on Friday. Molex soared $9.29 $38.63.

"I think it's really exciting for just about everybody to see that big of a deal go through," said Kim Forrest, senior analyst with portfolio management firm Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

Forrest said the Molex deal got the attention of investors because electronics show up in so many places including housing, autos, and commercial buildings. "There's a little bit of electronics that Molex makes in everything," she said.

Housing stocks were some of the strongest gainers in the S&P after homebuilder Hovnavian Enterprises said home prices are rising. Hovnanian rose 11 cents to $5.15. PulteGroup, D.R. Horton and Lennar also rose.

Apple rose back above $500 per share, a level it last closed above on Aug. 26. Apple gained $7.95 $506.

Asian stocks rose, lifted by Tokyo's win for the 2020 Summer Olympics, Chinese export growth and an election victory by Australia's conservative coalition.

Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 2.5 percent after the country reported that its economy expanded more rapidly than originally thought during the first half of this year. The 2020 Olympics are expected to boost Japan's construction sector, where the government is already spending heavily as part of its stimulus program.

On Monday, China reported that inflation eased in August and exports accelerated, hinting at an economy on the mend. Chinese stocks rose.

Australian stocks gained after an election victory by a coalition that supports a repeal of the 30 percent tax on coal and iron ore miners' profits, which could help mining and resources companies.

In U.S. government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.89 percent from 2.94 percent late Friday.

Benchmark crude oil fell 84 cents to $109.69. The euro rose to $1.326 from $1.3173 late Friday, while the dollar rose to 99.57 yen from 99.10 yen.