NEW YORK (
) -- Stocks finished higher Monday, propelled by a flurry of deals news, strong earnings and signs of economic activity returning to normal in Egypt.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 69 points, or 0.6%, at 12,161 after rising as high as 12,189 earlier in the session. The
was higher by 8 points, or 0.6%, at 1,319, and the
was ahead by 15 points, or 0.5% at 2,784.
Capital goods, conglomerates and financial sectors led the rally, while energy stocks underperformed.
Bank of America
topped the Dow while
were among the biggest laggards.
About 1.7 billion shares traded on the Nasdaq, while 877 million shares changed hands on the
New York Stock Exchange
. Market breadth was positive with 2 out of every three stocks traded on the NYSE closing higher.
Monday's session brought a spate of deals news, including
agreement to buy biomedical testing equipment maker
for $83.50 a share in cash, or roughly $6.8 billion, including assumed debt. Shares of Danaher spiked 2.2% to close at $49.03 and Beckman Coulter's stock gained 9.9% to $82.65.
agreed to acquire the online news site
The Huffington Post
for $315 million. As part of the deal, the site's co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington will be named president and editor-in-chief of
The Huffington Post Media Group
, which will integrate all Huffington Post and AOL content. AOL's stock shed 3.4% at $21.19.
Offshore contract drilling company
agreed to acquire
for $41.60 a share in cash and stock. Pride International's stock jumped 15.7% to $39.80 while Ensco's stock shed 4.2% to $52.13.
agreed to buy the remaining 19.9% stake of
for $547.6 million. Shares of Wesco gained 1.8% to $387.50.
Peter Tuz, Chase Investment Counsel president, said Monday's gains were merger driven.
"You're seeing companies spend their money and I think that's improving sentiment. Plus, the fact that we didn't see any deterioration in the Egypt situation over the last couple of nights is probably helping a little bit, too," Tuz said.