U.S. stocks began strongly higher on Monday, with telecom and information technology shares up the most, after some positive earnings reports and M&A activity in the pharmaceutical sector boosted sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 86 points to 10,415. The S&P 500 Index climbed 11 points to 1,113. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 22 points to 2,233. Plenty of news this morning. Sanofi-Aventis is buying Chattem for $1.9 billion. Chattem is jumping 32%. The commodities are performing well. Alcoa is up 7% on an upgrade and a multi-billion dollar deal with the Saudis. The fertilizer stocks are higher thanks to a positive piece in Barrons and upgrades from Goldman Sachs. The financials are higher. Barrons ran a positive piece on Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup, and JP Morgan. Visa and Mastercard were upgraded, but both are lower. Fifth Third is the top pick at Bernstein for 2010. In the tech space, Research in Motion's solid earnings last week is still paying dividends this week. Apple, Google, IBM, Intel, Oracle, and Micron are all higher. Micron, Apple, Intel, and Oracle were all upgraded. In the retail space plenty of upgrades. Amazon, Gap, American Eagle, and Dicks were all upgraded. All are higher. The healthcare HMOs are higher on upgrades. I guess the healthcare bill isn't as bad for the HMOs as investors feared. Our taxes are certainly going up because of it. After the first hour the averages pushed higher. The Dow rose over 100 points. The Nasdaq improved by 23 points. Through the morning the averages remained right at the highs of the day. A few stocks have sold off like Citigroup, Research in Motion, Yahoo, Adobe, and Starbucks. In the afternoon the averages remained strong, but off the highs of the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 85 points at 10,414. The S&P 500 Index added 11 points to 1,114. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 25 points to 2,237.
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