Stocks opened higher Monday, extending their recent winning streak, with world shares hitting 10-month highs on hopes that the global economic recovery is picking up steam.
By now, it's abundantly clear that the old Wall Street cliché "sell in May and go away" did not apply this year. After finishing Friday at their highest levels since last October, all three major indexes are on course for another monthly gain. For the Dow, it would be its fifth month of gains in the past six, and for the S&P and Nasdaq, their sixth.
But let the trader beware: There isn't much in the way of economic, earnings or other news on the calendar for today, and end-of-August volume tends to be light, which means trading could be volatile.
Financial stocks were among the day's biggest gainers, with Bank of America and Citigroup up more than 3 percent.
Credit-card companies advanced, including American Express , Capital One and Discovery Financial , after Barclays upgraded the sector to "overweight."
There could be a multibillion dollar deal in the works this morning involving Dow component Procter & Gamble . The consumer-products giant is expected to announce a deal to sell its prescription drug business to Warner Chilcot for about $3 billion.
And the Ricketts family has finalized a deal to buy the Chicago Cubs from Tribune for $845 million. That transaction still needs the approval of major league baseball owners, and the court that's overseeing Tribune's bankruptcy case.
Fannie Mae shares shot up more than 30 percent, while Freddie Mac was up more than 10 percent as the government-sponsored enterprises benefited from the Federal Reserve's purchase Friday of $5.6 billion in housing debt. The Fed program is targeted at spurring borrowing by keeping interest rates down.
Another beaten-down stock, Advanced Micro Devices , gained nearly 10 percent following an upgrade from Citigroup. AMD shares are off more than 35 percent over the past year.
Elsewhere in tech land, Finnish handset maker Nokia is planning to enter the PC market with a netbook computer.
The news will pick up as the week goes on. On tap are more than $100 billion in Treasury auctions, a report on bailout executive pay, durable-goods orders, new-home sales, the second reading on second-quarter GDP, personal income and spending, consumer confidence and spending, and earnings from Dell and Tiffany.
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