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U.S. stocks began higher Monday, extending the prior week's gains, on better-than-anticipated corporate earnings and as worry diminished about Europe's debt trouble. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 54 points to 13,151. The S&P 500 index climbed 5 points to 1,396. The Nasdaq Composite rose 11 points to 2,979. Thanks to more encouraging comments out of Europe and better than expected economic data out last Friday, investors are warming up to the markets. All the major sectors are trading higher this morning. The weakest sectors like materials and energy slowly climb higher. Kodiak Oil & Gas is higher by 2% on an upgrade. The big cap financials are performing well although Knight Trading is down 25% following their huge trade error last week. The good news Knight Trading will survive, but unfortunately the firm had to accept new investors diluting their stock significantly. On the earnings front the news is quiet. Tyson Foods is lower by 3% on disappointing earnings. Retail in general continues to hold up. Walmart and Walgreen are higher on upgrades. Sony is lower on a debt downgrade. Activision Blizzard is jumping 2% on a positive Barrons' article. Through the first hour the averages kept pushing higher with the Dow rising 70 points and the Nasdaq rising 20 points. The healthcare space is not really rallying with the broader market. Health Care REIT, INC is higher following earnings while HCA Corp is down 4% on earnings. The HMOs continue to come under pressure since the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. Through the morning and into the afternoon the averages remained strong not far from the highs of the day even as a few stocks have dropped into the red. In the last hour the selling picked up a little as the averages drifted lower. A quiet day overall. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 21 points, or 0.2%, at 13,117, led by Bank of America and dragged off the highs by American Express. The S&P 500 rose 3 points to 1,394. The Nasdaq Composite rose 22 points to 2,989.
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