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Dow posts 4-day winning streak, but gains capped as Boeing slides

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No expectation of a change in rates at Fed meeting, says pro

Stocks rose on Monday as Amazon and Apple outperformed, but gains were kept in check amid pressure from Boeing and Facebook, while investors braced for a busy week highlighted by a key Federal Reserve meeting.

The  closed 0.4 percent higher at 2,832.94 as the energy and financials sectors rose more than 1 percent each. The Nasdaq Composite also gained 0.3 percent to close at 7,714.48 as Amazon rose more than 1.5 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 65.23 points to 25,914.10 — posting a four-session winning streak — as a 1 percent rise in Apple helped offset losses in Boeing.

Boeing fell more than 1.5 percent after The Wall Street Journal reported the Department of Transportation and federal prosecutors were scrutinizing the development of the company's 737 Max planes. This comes after an Ethiopian Airlines flight involving the 737 Max 8 jet crashed last week.

Facebook shares also fell 3.3 percent after an analyst at Needham downgraded the company to hold from buy, citing worries about Facebook's pivot to privacy and encrypted messages as well as the possibility of more regulatory scrutiny.

Investors prepared themselves for a busy week as the Fed begins its two-day monetary policy meeting on Tuesday. Market expectations for a rate hike are at zero, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool. However, investors will look for clues about the central bank's economic outlook.

Traders work at the offices of CMC Markets in the City of London on December 10, 2018 as Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in the House of Commons announcing the government's intention to delay the 'meaningful' vote on the Brexit withdrawl agreement.
Daniel Sorabji | AFP | Getty Images

"When FOMC members meet this week, they will find that since their last get together at the end of January short-term yield relationships are still forewarning lower growth despite concerted jaw-boning efforts that include the promise of ending balance sheet reduction early," said Steven Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard.

The Fed signaled it will be "patient" in raising rates at its previous meeting this year. The 2-year Treasury note yield traded near 2.45 percent, down from about 2.6 percent earlier this year. The benchmark 10-year note yield is also at 2.6 percent, down from 2.78 percent.

"The equity market, lifted by the return of easier money from central banks globally as well as the Fed, is a positive without question, but we wonder how long this lift will last, considering the likely negative impact on earnings expectations from weakening trends in US economic data and in much of the rest of the world," Blitz said.

Wall Street is also focused on U.S.-China trade discussions. The two countries are expected to strike a trade deal sometime between late March and April. Expectations that China and the U.S. will reach a trade deal have helped stocks move higher this year. 

The S&P 500 is up 13 percent this year and is on pace to post its biggest quarterly gain since the third quarter of 2009.

Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. equity strategist at Credit Suisse, hiked his 2019 target on the S&P 500 to 3,025 from 2,925. The strategist cited "receding" risks will drive stocks higher, noting: "Less hawkish comments from the Fed, declining inflation and recession fears, and the potential for a resolution to China trade issues are the primary forces driving volatility and spreads lower, and stocks higher."

Golub's new target implies a 20 percent upside for the S&P 500.

—CNBC's Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.