Blue Chips Gaining, but Tech's Got Troubles

The Dow and S&P continue to tread in positive territory as investors weigh a surprise rise in April pending-home sales. The Nasdaq lags in the red.
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Updated from 10:56 a.m. EDT

Stocks traded mixed Monday as blue chips made a modest recovery from the giant selloff in the previous session with help from positive housing-sector news, even as tech shares remained stuck in the red.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

jumped 96 points, or 0.8%, to 12,305, and the

S&P 500

was adding 6 points, or 0.4%, to 1367. The

Nasdaq Composite

gave up 17 points, or 0.7%, to 2458 as big tech names

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

,

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

and

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

saw weakness.

Blue-chip gains piled higher, however, after the National Association of Realtors said pending-home sales swelled 6.3% in April, far better than the economists' consensus for a 1% drop and up from a March decline of 1%.

Crude oil, which ramped higher by more than $10 a barrel in the last session and helped yank down the Dow by 400 points, remained at extraordinarily high levels in the new session. Still, futures saw a bit of profit-taking amid news that Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali al-Naimi has called Friday's massive gains "unjustified," according to the Saudi Press Agency. Crude recently was off $2.39 to $136.15 a barrel.

Even so, energy names were doing well recently, with oil-and-gas giants

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

and

Chevron

(CVX) - Get Report

adding 2.4% and 1.6%, respectively.

BP

(BP) - Get Report

bumped up 2.5%.

Further, the nationwide average for gas prices at the pump

hit the $4 milestone on Sunday

, according to AAA, and today it was at another all-time high of $4.023 a gallon.

The U.S. dollar reversed an early dip as crude took further losses, firming 0.3% against the euro to $1.5712 and climbing 1.1% against the yen at 106.14. Gold futures rose $2.80 to $901.80 an ounce.

Among companies,

Lehman Brothers

(LEH)

announced plans to

raise $6 billion

through an offering for common and preferred stock and said it expects to post a fiscal second-quarter loss of $2.8 billion, or $5.14 a share. Word of a cash-raising and a big loss has been circulating since last week. Shares were sliding 7.8%.

Also, a Swiss newspaper reported that

UBS

(UBS) - Get Report

could see another $3.9 billion in writedowns in the fiscal second quarter in addition to the $19 billion it has already reported. Shares surrendered 3%.

UBS was, moreover, hit with negative analyst research along with

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

and

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

.

In another dire forecast on financials, Oppenheimer analyst Meredith Whitney said the trio could write down another $10 billion thanks to their exposure to

MBIA

(MBI) - Get Report

and

Ambac

(ABK)

, which lost their perfect financial-strength ratings last week.

Citi shares underwent erratic trading before losing a penny at $20.05, and Merrill slouched 1.3%.

On the brighter side, lender

CIT

(CIT) - Get Report

leaped 10.5% after scoring $3 billion in long-term securities-based financing from

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

.

Staying in the financial space,

Hilb Rogal & Hobbs

(HRH)

rocketed more than 40% after Britain-based

Willis Group

(WSH)

, a fellow insurance broker, agreed to take it out for $46 a share, or $2.1 billion. That includes $400 million in debt assumption. Willis shares shed 2.5%.

Elsewhere on the corporate front,

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

was in focus at the kickoff of the company's annual developers' conference, which many believe will serve to

unveil a new 3G-enabled iPhone

. Recently, the stock ticked down 1.3%.

Dow component

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

moved up 4% after saying same-store sales, or those from locations open a year or longer, jumped 7.7% last month as foreign markets saw especially good numbers. U.S. comps were up 4.3% from a year earlier.

Meanwhile,

Bloomberg

reported that the

Securities and Exchange Commission

may recommend this week that the major credit-rating agencies -- Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Ratings -- be forbidden from advising investment banks on how to achieve high-end rankings for their asset-backed securities, according to people familiar with the matter.

Back in research calls, Lehman Brothers upgraded

Northwest Airlines

(NWA)

and United Airlines operator

UAL Corp.

(UAUA)

to overweight, and UAL was furthermore upped to hold from sell at Soleil. Still, Northwest shares lost 3.7% and UAL slipped 1.7%.

Motorola

(MOT)

crept higher despite an Oppenheimer downgrade, and bulldozer maker

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

traded in the green even though UBS cut its rating to sell. Acrobat software maker

Adobe Systems

(ADBE) - Get Report

edged down 0.5% on a Cowen & Co. downgrade to neutral.

Treasury prices were sliding. The 10-year note retreated 28/32 in price to yield 4.02% and the 30-year bond moved down 21/32 in price, yielding 4.67%.

Markets abroad were mixed. In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 plunged 2.1% overnight, and Taiwan's main index dropped 1.8%. Hong Kong and China were closed. Among European bourses, London's FTSE 100 fell 0.5%, and Frankfurt's Xetra Dax rose 0.2%. The Paris Cac was better by 0.1%.