Stocks Open Higher; McDonald's Leads Dow

Stocks opened higher Monday but trading was tepid as investors took a breather after last week's rally caused by better-than-expected nonfarm payrolls data.

Last week, Wall Street stocks turned in their best performance since early January, up 2.3 percent for the week. The Nasdaq closed at an 18-month high. The S&P is up for six straight sessions and if it makes it seven today, it would be the first time the index logged a seven-day winning streak since the fall of 2006.

Big anniversary coming up for the market this week: Tuesday marks one year since the March lows.

Among the buzz in the market today, a survey by the National Association of Business Economists showed most business economists expect the Fed to hike rates within six mon thsby between a quarter and a half percentage point.

Cisco and Alcoa rounded out the Dow's top three.

AIG agreed to sell its foreign life insurance unit to MetLife for around $15 billion in cash and stock. The deal would mean AIG will get a stake of over 20 percent in MetLife, the sources said.

Asian stocks finished Monday higher, boosted by Friday's U.S. jobs report, but European shares were largely flat in mid-morning trade, with banks offsetting losses posted by pharmaceutical companies.

There are no major economic reports due Monday, and investors are likely to focus on Greek and Middle Eastern debt news, as well as on China's comments on the yuan for the macroeconomic picture.

Cablevision and WABCcame close enough to a deal Sunday night, 15 minutes into the Academy Awards presentation, to put the station back on the air. The station went dark at 12:01 am Sunday morning when the contract between the companies expired. As

This Week:

MONDAY: NABE conference; McDonald's Feb. sales; Fed's Warsh speaks; Earnings from H&R Block
TUESDAY: NABE conference; Anniversary of market's March lows; Fed's Evans speaks; 3-year Treasury auction
WEDNESDAY: Obama health-care speech; weekly mortgage apps; wholesale trade; state unemployment rates; Google hearing; weekly crude inventories; 10-year auction; earnings from American-Eagle Outfitters
THURSDAY: $2B California bond sale; international trade; weekly jobless claims; 30-year auction; earnings from Nat Semi, Aeropostale
FRIDAY: Gov'ts retail-sales report; consumer sentiment; business inventories; earnings from Ann Taylor

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