U.S. stocks rose on Monday, with the S&P 500 netting its first five-day winning streak since October, as investors looked to a slew of quarterly earnings reports from companies including online film service Netflix.
"We're modestly higher because the worst-case scenario didn't happen over the weekend," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, referring to geopolitical tensions involving Russia and Ukraine.
"And, on balance, earnings have been better than expectations," Hogan added.
"Investors were braced for poor results, and at least so far, the numbers have been better than feared. We'll have a little more information to act on after the close and into the morning as we get into company-specific results," said Lawrence Creatura, portfolio manager at Federated Investors.
Netflix, among the momentum names recently hit, reports after the close.
"Many companies in the hyper-extended corner of the technology sector were approaching valuations that were rarified, so it was probably natural and even healthy for those shares to retreat a bit," said Creatura.
Halliburton gained after the oilfield services company Athenahealth declined after posting quarterly earnings below expectations. Facebook gained after Goldman Sachs reiterated its buy recommendation. The social networking company is reportedly readying to unveil plans for a mobile advertising networking at the end of the month. Ford shares were slightly lower in the wake of a Bloomberg report that the auto manufacturer would name COO Mark Fields as successor to CEO Alan Mulally as soon as May 1.
Merger talks between Barrick Gold and Newmont Mining fell through in recent days, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sources. But shares of Newmont Mining rallied, while those of Newmont Mining fell, after Bloomberg News cited people with knowledge of the matter in reporting deal talks between the gold producers could be rekindled.
An index of leading indicators rose 0.8 percent last month, narrowly beating estimates.
After a 51-point climb and a 6-point fall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 40.71 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,449.25, with Pfizer leading blue-chip gains that included 17 of its 30 components after Britian's Sunday Times cited senior investment bankers and industry sources in reporting the pharmaceutical giant was weighing a $101 billion offer for British rival AstraZeneca
The added 7.04 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,871.89, with health care performing best and utilities the biggest laggard among its 10 industry groups.
The Nasdaq gained 26.03 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,121.55.
For every three stocks falling, roughly four rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where 603 million shares exchanged hands. Composite volume cleared 2.6 billion.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of investor uncertainty, fell 0.3 percent to 13.31.
The dollar gained against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note used in figuring mortgage rates and other consumer loans fell a basis point to 2.716 percent.
"Interest rates are tough to forecast; there is a common perception they will ultimately climb because they feel so unnaturally low, but markets have a way of surprising people, so we'll see," said Federated's Creatura.
The price of crude added 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, to end at $104.37 a barrel; gold futures shed $5.40, or 0.4 percent, to settled at $1,288.50 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold's decline is a "macro move as people anticipate less potentially inflationary activity from the Fed," said Creatura.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks mostly climbed, with the S&P 500 extending gains into a fourth session, after companies including General Electric and Morgan Stanley reported quarterly results that topped expectations.
Wall Street was closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday.
—By CNBC's Kate Gibson
Coming Up This Week:
Earnings: Comcast, McDonald's, Travelers, Simon Property Group, Omnicom, Xerox, United Tech, Amgen, AT&T, Canadian national Railway, CR Bard, Discover Financial, Gilead Sciences, Cree, International Gaming, Juniper Networks, Intuitive Surgical, Yum Brands, Illinois Tool Works, AK Steel, Allegheny Tech, Carlisle, Lockheed Martin, Lexmark,Harley-Davidson, Canadian Pacific Railway, Bank of NY Mellon
9:00 a.m.: FHFA home prices
10:00 a.m.: Existing home sales
10:00 a.m.: Richmond Fed
1:00 p.m.: $32 billion 2-year Treasury auction
Earnings: Boeing, Procter and Gamble, Facebook, Ericsson, Northrop Grumman, Norfolk Southern, Dow Chemical, Owens Corning, TD Ameritrade, Ryder Systems, Tupperware, WR Grace, Omnicare, LPL Financial, Johnson Controls, Ingersoll-Rand, EMC, F5 Networks, ETrade, Zynga, Xilinx, Texas Instruments, Dr. Pepper Snapple, Delta Airlines, Air Products, Biogen Idec, Raymond James, Morningstar, Safeway, Stryker,Qualcomm
8:58 a.m.: Manufacturing PMI
10:00 a.m.: New home sales
1:00 p.m.: $35 billion 5-year Treasury auction
Earnings: Microsoft, Amazon.com, Caterpillar, Verizon, 3M, General Motors, UPS, United Continental, Timken, Starbucks, Freeport-McMoRan, Entergy, Jet Blue, Hershey, Imax, Noble Energy, Under Armour, T. Rowe Price, Stanley Black and Decker, Starwood, Broadcom, Applied Micro Nasdaq OMX, KKR, Peabody Energy, Potash, PulteGroup, Raytheon, Quest Diagnostics, Occidental Petroleum, NY Times, Novartis, Nucor, Altria, AstraZeneca, Amerisource Bergen, Alexion Pharma, Avnet, Brunswick, Bemis, Cabot Oil and Gas, Delphi Automotive,Eli Lilly, Dunkin Brands, DR Horton, Celgene, Pandora
8:30 a.m.: Weekly claims
8:30 a.m.: Durable goods
11:00 a.m.: Kansas City Fed survey
1:00 p.m.: $29 billion 7-year Treasury auction
8:58 a.m.: Services PMI
9:55 a.m.: Consumer sentiment
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