Stocks Resume Climb, Dow and S&P 500 Close at New Record Highs

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Stocks kept up their climb for a fourth session on Monday, with the Dow and S&P 500 setting new record highs, as investors pondered the strength of the economy and policy moves by the Federal Reserve.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which set a record high on Friday, closed unofficially 18 points higher at 16,943.10. The S&P 500 which also hit an all-time high on Friday, rose 1 point to 1,951.27 and the Nasdaq added 14 points.

"Investors are feeling a little more confident, and fundamentals are positive. There is still a lot of risk out there from unexpected bad news, but as long as we're not getting any," the market bias is upward, said Gary Thayer, chief macros strategist, Wells Fargo Advisors.

"We're still seeing some follow through from the good news we got last week from the European Central Bank, which made investors more comfortable with where multiples are, as we had a major central bank acting like they want to do more stimulus, which offset concerns some have had about Fed tapering," Thayer added.

The ECB on Thursday slashed interest rates in a move to boost the economy of the 18-nation euro zone. The U.S. Federal Reserve, however, has been reducing its monthly bond purchases otherwise known as quantitative easing, and expects to be finished altogether this fall.

Apple shares rose 1.6 percent on the iPhone maker's first day of trading after a seven-for-one stock split.

Tyson Foods shares declined and Hillshire Brands jumped after meat producer Tyson said it brokered a "unilaterally binding offer" to acquire Hillshire, the maker of food products including Jimmy Dean sausages, for $8.55 billion, inlcuding debt.

Merck & Co. agreed to acquire Idenix Pharmaceuticals in a deal valued at $3.85 billion, and Analog Devices said it would purchase Hittite Microwave for $78 a share.

The dollar gained against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners and the 10-year Treasury yield used in determining mortgage rates and other consumer loans rose 2 basis points to 2.609 percent.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude-oil futures for July delivery rose $1.75, or 1.7 percent, to $104.41 a barrel; gold futures for August delivery added $1.40, or 0.1 percent, to $1,253.90 an ounce.

"The economy is getting stronger and the slowdown from the first quarter has created some pent-up demand, some of it weather related," said Andrew Fitzpatrick, a financial adviser at the Fitzpatrick Group of Wells Fargo Advisors.

"The car sales from last week are another sign the economy is getting better; retail sales this week is something the market will key on," said Fitzpatrick of Thursday's report on retail sales in May, which he and other strategists view as key in offering further evidence of an economic rebound in the second quarter following an exceedingly disappointing start.