Stocks rose modestly Monday, led by a handful of positive economic news, but tech stocks and geopolitical developments limited gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 10 points after closing in the black last week.
AT&T and Cisco led the gainers on the blue-chip index, while Disney and Home Depot were among the laggards.
The S&P 500 was higher, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded above 18.
Among the S&P sectors, telecom, energy and utilities gainedwhile techs declined.
“Average investors are not involved in the market," JJ Burns, president of JJ Burns & Company told CNBC, pointing to light volume in the market. "Ultimately, when inflation lasts a little longer, we will have reduced margins and prices and we’ll see stock prices lower quite a bit.”
In the day's economic news, pending home sales unexpectedly gained 2.1 percent in February, according to the National Association of Realtors. Economists had expected the index, which leads existing home sales by a month or two, to fall 1.0 percent after a previously reported 2.8 percent decline.
And U.S. consumer spending rose slightly more than expectedin February for the eighth straight month of gains as households tapped their savings, according to government data, while inflation accelerated at its fastest pace since June 2009.
In Libya, rebels pushed west over the weekend to retake a series of towns from the forces of Muammar Gaddafi who have been pounded by Western air strikes, while in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad deployed the army in the country's main port of Latakia for the first time after nearly two weeks of protests spread across the country.
President Obama will make a national televised address Monday eveningat 7:30 pm ET to defend U.S. participation in NATO mission in Libya. (CNBC.com will be streaming the event live.)