U.S. stocks opened higher Monday after tensions in the Middle East in particular Egypt have eased a little bit. Better than expected earnings from Exxon Mobil is lending support to the markets as well. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 29 points to 11,852. Exxon Mobil is trading up a percent right at its 52 week high. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 3 points to 1,278 while the Nasdaq Composite rose 5 points to 2,691. It's another merger Monday morning. Alpha Natural is buying Massey Energy for $8.5 billion. Massey is up 10% while Alpha is down 7%. All the coal stocks including Arch Coal are trading higher on this merger news. All the oil stocks are performing well following Exxon's earnings. Frontier Oil is jumping 5% on an upgrade. Alcoa is up a percent after announcing a $240 million acquisition. The fertilizers and Freeport McMoran are also trading higher. The financials are also performing well so far this morning. In the retail space Illinois Tools is down a percent after missing estimates. Lowes is down a percent on a downgrade while Home Depot is higher on an upgrade. Darden Restaurants is up 2% after raising guidance. Ford is up a percent after getting clobbered on Friday. The tech space is mixed. Corning is up 2% continuing their rally from last week following earnings. IBM is higher as well, but most techs are negative or unchanged. After the first half an hour Intel lowered guidance due to a chipset error, something company specific. Even so the averages gave up most of their gains with the Nasdaq falling into the red and the Dow up only single digits. After the first hour the Dow improved again. The Nasdaq improved to the unchanged level. Intel is down only a percent. Through the morning the averages improved with the Dow rising 50 points and the Nasdaq rising 12 points. Resilient market. In the afternoon the Dow rose 60 points before pulling back a little. The commodities and financials look good. The techs are mostly in the red. In the last hour the averages remained strong actually rallying into the close. Did not see this coming. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 68 points, or 0.6%, at 11,891 and gained 2.7% for the month, its best January since 1997. The S&P 500 added 9 points to 1,286 led by a 2.6% gain in energy stocks. It rose 2.3% for the month. The Nasdaq Composite added 13 points to 2,700 gaining 1.8% for the month.
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