Stocks roared to life to begin the week of trading on Monday as Wall Street looks forward to five days of relatively little in the way of significant economic data, and US military action in Syria remains on hold pending a congressional vote to authorize strikes against the Ba’athist regime of Bashar al-Assad.
While the previous week was teeming with reports on the status of a variety of aspects of the American economy, investors have little in the way of data-based catalysts this week. Aside from Thursday’s weekly initial jobless claims figures, Wall Street will have to wait for Friday for the August Producer Price Index reading as well as retail sales figures for the recently-ended month.
Last week’s data was unexpectedly positive, but the speculation about the beginning of the end of the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing program that has typically been the response to even the most tentative indication of improvement in the US economy was obfuscated to a large extent by what seemed to be immanent military involvement in the conflict in Syria.
But the relative unpopularity of a strike against Syrian military infrastructure, both at home and abroad, forced President Obama to put the ball in the legislature’s court, where approval from the House of Representatives will struggle against bi-partisan opposition. Though the President has signaled his administration’s willingness to act without the approval of congress, much less the United Nations, any actual mission over the ancient Mediterranean nation appears to be on hold for the immediate future, sending the price of West Texas crude down 1.55 percent to $108.82 per barrel.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 1 percent to 1,671.71 by the closing bell, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose over 140 points, or 0.94 percent, to a finish of 15,063.12. The NASDAQ finished the day with a tally of 3,706.18 points, a gain of 1.26 percent.
Tech shares were prominent among the NASDAQ’s most heavily traded stocks, with memory-chip manufacturer Molex Inc. (MOLX) soaring nearly 32 percent to $38.63 on news that the company would be purchased by the infamous Koch Industries conglomerate for $7.2 billion. Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) and BlackBerry (BBRY) also ended the day substantially higher.
On the S&P 500, industrial goods companies saw their stocks jump, with advances for PulteGroup ($PHM), DR Horton (DHI) , Joy Global (JOY) , and Masco Corporation (MAS) all ending the day on big gains.
Industrial goods ruled the Dow as well, with Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) the day’s best performer, up 2.64 percent to $85.59 at the bell. The Travelers Companies (TRV) and Alcoa ($AA) were the other companies to rise over 2 percent on Monday.