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Stock Market Today: Bulls Take Control, Giving Fence Sitters an Expensive Lesson

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Those who've been waiting for the next pullback to get invested learned another expensive lesson on Monday.

The bulls took almost full control of the market on strong economic news, surging M&A deals and a slight ebbing of Ukraine worries.

The number of stocks that rose with the market far exceeded the number of declining stocks by a ratio of about three-to-one on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq -- 172 issues made new 52-week highs vs. 17 creating new 52-week lows. The tech-heavy Nasdaq hit a 14-year high on Monday as this economically sensitive sector gained 1.06%.

"The animal spirits are moving this market forward and the biggest risk is missing the abounding opportunities," said Doug Cote, chief market strategist at Voya Investment Management.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average powered ahead by 1.06% to 16,838.74. The S&P 500 jumped 0.85% to 1,971.74. The Nasdaq surged 0.97% to 4,508.31. U.S. stocks edged off their session lows by the final hour of trading Friday to close the week higher.

Sound economic fundamentals continued to be in play on Monday after the NAHB Housing Market Index for August rose to 55, the highest reading since January.

Ceasefire hopes were raised Monday after Russia said its foreign minister had reached an agreement with Ukraine representatives in Berlin over the weekend. The agreement allows Moscow's controversial humanitarian aid convoy to travel into rebel-held territory. The White House said it has not been able to confirm the reports from Friday that Ukrainian troops partially destroyed a Russian military convoy.

In deal news, Dollar General (DG - Get Report) offered to buy Family Dollar (FDO) for $9.7 billion, topping a bid from Dollar Tree (DLTR - Get Report) . Dollar General popped 11.63% to $64.14, while Family Dollar gained 4.93% to $79.81. Dollar Tree slipped 2.42% to $54.26. U.S. M&A in the first half nearly doubled 2013's first half volume on the heels of a broadening, global expansion, according to Cote.

IBM (IBM - Get Report) was up 1.06% to $189.36 following the company's announcement late Friday that it received notice from the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment of the successful conclusion of the committee's review of the divestiture of the company's x86-based server business to Lenovo Group (LNVGY) .

--By Andrea Tse in New York

Follow @AndreaTTse

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Chart of I:DJI
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