U.S. stocks closed higher on Monday, with the S&P 500 at a record, as Wall Street weighed when the Federal Reserve would begin curbing its monetary stimulus and tracked budget negotiations on Capitol Hill.
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker on Monday said he expects a taper discussion at next week's Federal Open Market Committee meeting, while St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said positive trends in the labor market make cuts to the Fed's $85 billion in monthly bond purchases more likely. Speaking in Chicago, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher reiterated his view that the Fed should start cutting back on its bond purchases "at the earliest opportunity."
The speeches came before Fed officials go into their "blackout" period before the two-day FOMC gathering that starts next Tuesday.
American Airlines Group's shares climbed after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant a stay that would have blocked the merger of American Airlines parent AMR and U.S. Airways, now the nation's largest airline. CEO Doug Parker told CNBC on Monday that it's difficult to say whether consolidation in the industry would take a breather.
Sysco shares rallied after the food-distribution company said it would pay about $3.5 billion and take on about $4.7 billion in debt to acquire competitor US Foods to form a company with about $65 billion in annual revenue.
Shares of McDonald's slid after the fast-food chain reported softer-than-expected global sales at established restaurants for last month, hit by a steep decline in comparable-store sales in the U.S.