Stocks squeezed out small gains Monday, adding to the previous week's robust rally, as investors turned their focus to fourth-quarter earnings season.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tacked on 32.77 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 12,392.69, led by Alcoa and BofA .
The S&P 500 edged up 2.89 points, or 0.23 percent, to end at 1,280.70. The Nasdaq squeezed out a small gain of 2.34 points, or 0.09 percent, to finish at 2,676.56.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, ended near 21.
Among key S&P sectors, industrials gained, while techs dipped.
“Clarity is going to help us,” said Marc Pado, U.S. strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald. “Market wants to see as much as they can see what the risk is for financials.”
In Europe, Sarkozy and Merkel said they want EU states to complete their negotiations on a planned new treaty in the coming days so it could be signed on March 1.
Meanwhile, Germany sold 3.9 billion euros ($4.9 billion) in six-month T-Bills with the yield negative for the first time in a money market auction. Investors will be closely watching Italy and Spain's bond auctions later this week.
“We’re up against resistance and the market is waiting for earnings,” said Pado. “What would drive us through [the resistance area] is better than expected earnings...[but] there’s a lot of chatter that they aren’t going to measure up.”
Aluminum producer Alcoa is scheduled to report after the bell, marking the unofficial start to the fourth-quarter earnings season. Banking giant JPMorgan is slated to post on Friday.