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U.S. stocks rise, pushing market to record levels

NEW YORK - Stock rose on Monday, pushing U.S. market indexes to all-time highs, as investors bought some of the unloved stocks that have been slumping in recent weeks. Twenty-First Century Fox gained following reports that the company is trying to consolidate its European satellite TV businesses.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 14 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,892 as of 11:08 a.m. The index closed at an all-time high of 1,890 on April 2. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 99 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,682. The Dow closed at a record high on Friday of 16,583. The Nasdaq climbed 59 points, or 1.5 percent, to 4,131.

Twenty-First Century Fox rose $1.11, or 3.3 percent, to $35.27 following reports that the company is seeking to consolidate its European satellite television business.

Some areas of the market that had slumped in recent weeks gained on Monday. Facebook rose $2.16, or 3.8 percent, to $59.40. The stock is still down 17 percent since March 10, after investors started dumping high-growth stocks. Twitter, another stock that has been beaten down recently, rose $1.36, or 4 percent, to $33.34.

Pinnacle Foods surged $4.47, or 15 percent, to $34.95 after the company agreed to be acquired by Hillshire Brands. Pinnacle's brands include Duncan Hines and Aunt Jemima, while Hillshire makes Jimmy Dean and Sara Lee products. Hillshire fell $2.20, or 6 percent, to $34.76.

Stocks have alternated between weekly gains and losses for the past nine weeks. Investors have appeared reluctant to push the market higher amid uncertainty about how well the economy is doing. After surging last year, stocks have made only moderate gains so far this year. The S&P 500 is up 2.4 percent and the Dow Jones is just 0.6 percent higher.

"We've taken a temporary pause in the confidence that was pushing the market forward," said Gerry Paul, chief investment officer of U.S. value equities at AllianceBernstein. "But the fundamentals will ultimately bear out and bring people back in."

Stocks in China and Hong Kong rose after authorities there promised financial reforms. China's Shanghai Composite jumped 2.1 percent to 2,052.87 after the country's Cabinet promised late Friday to allow local governments to issue bonds and to streamline the approval process for initial public stock offerings.

U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.65 percent from 2.63 percent late Friday. The price of oil rose 73 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $100.71 a barrel.

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