Dow nearly makes 12,000
Blue-chip measure sets closing record, comes within three points of key mark; stocks edge higher as economic and earnings reports loom.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Dow Jones industrial average came within three points of the 12,000 mark Monday afternoon, closing at a record high for the seventh time in the last 10 sessions.
The Dow (up 27.05 to 11,987.56, Charts) gained 0.2 percent and reached a record intraday high of 11,997.25, according to early tallies.
The broader S&P 500 (up 4.07 to 1,369.69, Charts) gained about 0.3 percent, while the tech-laden Nasdaq composite inched (up 7.64 to 2,364.93, Charts) up about 0.3 percent also.
The dollar fell, bonds rose, and oil prices gained over $1.
Here's what moved the markets Monday:
Gains were modest as rising oil prices and trepidation ahead of a week packed with earnings and economic reports may have kept some investors on the sidelines Monday.
But most analysts believe it's only a matter of time before the Dow breaks 12,000.
"The market has everything going for it right now but the psychology," said Jordan Kimmel, a market strategist for National Securities Corp, of the race to cross 12,000. "This adds to the psychology."
"With all the money on the sidelines, I think the market has a lot of upside," Kimmel added.
Analysts say it's important for the Dow to break 12,000 and push past it, rather than merely touching the psychologically significant mark and then selling off.
"(Dow) 12,000 is a layup," Doug Johnston, a trader at the Boston-based brokerage Canaccord Adams, said earlier in the session.
Johnston said there could be lots of buying and selling if the Dow makes a strong push past 12,000, as hedge funds and money managers join mom-and-pop investors and try to profit from movement in either direction.
"If we move quickly through (the 12,000 mark) we should see something," he said.
About a third of the 30 Dow companies are slated to report this week, the barrage beginning Tuesday.
Key readings on inflation and housing are also set for release, starting with the Producer Price Index Tuesday.
Oil prices may have dampened the mood Monday, rising over $1 as talk continues of a looming OPEC production cut.
U.S. crude for light delivery gained $1.37 to settle at $59.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
OPEC announced Saturday it would meet Thursday to discuss production cuts, which had lifted prices in the early going. But oil was unable to hold onto those early gains.
Treasury prices rose, lowering the yield on the ten year to 4.79 percent from 4.80 percent level reached late Friday. The dollar was lower against the euro and the yen.
Stocks in Asia closed mostly higher Monday, while European stocks finished higher as well.
In corporate news, UnitedHealth Group (Charts) Chairman and CEO William McGuire resigned from the company early Monday after an investigation found that many of the stock options grants made over the past 12 years were likely backdated.
No. 1 chipmaker Intel (Charts) executives at a developers' forum hosted by Intel in Taipei forecast a strong fourth quarter for notebook computers.
Oshkosh Truck (Charts) said it will acquire JLG Industries (Charts) for about $3 billion in cash, a 34 percent premium based on Friday's closing price for the company, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Market breadth was positive. On the New York Stock Exchange, winners beat losers nearly two to one on volume of 1.05 billion shares. On the Nasdaq, advancers topped decliners three to two on volume of 1.41 billion shares.
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