General Motors gained after the automaker said its May auto sales were the strongest since September 2008, amid strong demand for pickup trucks, small gars and SUVs. Rival Ford also advanced after the company posted sales that gained 14 percent in the same period.
Merck soared after researchers said the pharmaceutical giant's drug designed to unmask tumor cells and mobilize the immune system to fight cancer helped shrink tumors in 38 percent of patients with advanced melanoma in an early-stage study.
Meanwhile, a fresh report showed that nearly two-thirds of Americans who currently lack health insurance don't know yet if they will purchase that coverage by the Jan. 1 deadline, according to findings from InsuranceQuotes.com. Major health insurance companies including Wellpoint, Aetna and UnitedHealth ticked higher.
NYSE Euronext said its shareholders approved the exchange operator's $8.2 billion takeover by IntercontinentalExchange.
Cracker Barrel rose after the restaurant chain topped earnings expectations and increased its dividend.
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park. Follow JeeYeon on Twitter:
What's Happening This Week:
TUESDAY: International trade, Fed's George speaks, Tesla shareholder mtg; Earnings from Dollar General
WEDNESDAY: MBA mortgage applications, ADP employment report, productivity & costs, factory orders, ISM non-mfg index, oil inventories, Beige Book, Las Vegas Sands shareholder mtg, Under Armour investor day, Yelp shareholder mtg; Earnings from Hovnanian, VeriFone
THURSDAY: Bank of England announcement, Challenger job-cut report, ECB announcement, jobless claims, quarterly services survey, natural gas inventories, Fed balance sheet/money supply, chain store sales, Wal-Mart shareholder mtg, Google shareholder mtg, GM annual mtg; Earnings from Ann, JM Smucker, Cooper Cos., Vail Resorts
FRIDAY: Employment situation, consumer credit
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