US stocks closed higher on Monday as investors snapped up technology heavyweights Microsoft, Apple and Amazon.com.
Trading volumes were thinner than usual. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 40 points, or 0.2%, at 19,883. The S&P 500 index closed up four points, or 0.2% at 2,263, with eight of the 11 main sectors finishing in positive territory. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended the session higher, up 20 points, or 0.4% to 5,457. Major stock indexes trimmed gains after the Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot dead in Ankara.
In her first speech after raising interest rates for only the second time this decade, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said signs of a healthy job market abound, including steady job creation, a low layoff rate and more job openings. But she also noted the economy is growing more slowly than in past recoveries and productivity growth “has been disappointing.”
The S&P technology index added 0.66%, with Microsoft, Apple and Amazon.com lifting the Nasdaq to within a hair of last Tuesday’s record high close. Microsoft rose 2.25%, Amazon.com gained 1.11% and Apple climbed 0.77%.
United Technologies rose 1.8%, helping lift the Dow, after Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to “outperform” and increased its price target.
Walt Disney added 1.4% after its “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” movie scored the second-largest December opening in history.
In deal news, Canada-based insurer Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. has agreed to acquire Swiss peer Allied World Assurance Co. in a $4.9 billion cash-and-share deal. Fairfax shares fell 2.4%, but Allied shares jumped 13%.
Standard Industries Inc. on Sunday reached an agreement to buy German roof maker Braas Monier Building Group SA. Standard is the US-based owner of North America’s biggest roof maker, GAF Materials Corp. Braas shares rose 6.8%.