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Nasdaq Closes at Record, Dow Up Sixth Day on Recovery Hopes

Stocks end higher Monday after surprisingly positive U.S. employment data boost optimism about the strength of the economic recovery.

Stocks finished higher Monday after surprisingly positive U.S. employment data boosted optimism about the strength of the economic recovery.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed up 1.13% to a record 9,924. The index also hit an intraday high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 461 points, or 1.7%, to 27,572, and was up for the sixth consecutive session. Boeing  (BA) - Get The Boeing Company Report rose nearly 12% and was the leading gainer on the Dow.

The S&P 500, which rallied to its highest level since February, closed up 1.2%.

U.S. stocks on Friday had closed sharply higher after the U.S. added 2.5 million jobs to payrolls in May, an increase that caught investors and Wall Street economists off guard.

The Dow last week gained 6.8%, the S&P 500 jumped 4.9% and the Nasdaq rose 3.3%, finishing just points below its closing high on Feb. 19.

"Optimism over a successful transition from a lockdown economy to a more normal period of economic activity, albeit with some semblance of social distancing, was buoyed by May’s employment gains of 2.5 million jobs," said Marc Chaikin, founder of Chaikin Analytics, a Philadelphia quantitative investment research firm.

"While the road to economic recovery will indeed be bumpy, stocks are looking ahead 12 to 18 months and seeing a return to normalcy," Chaikin added. 

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"Much depends on whether we experience a second wave of covid-19 spread after the reopening of the economy, and the onset of cooler weather in the fall. And of course the development of a safe, effective vaccine is also an important assumption that is built into the market’s historic advance and move toward euphoria."

Crude oil prices fell Monday even after major oil producing nations extended a production cut of nearly 10 million barrels of oil a day through the end of July.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, declined 3.36% to $38.22 a barrel.

Wall Street later this week will turn its attention to the Federal Reserve, which holds a meeting Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Fed is expected to keep rates near zero and no major policy decisions are expected from the U.S. central bank. However, Fed-watchers will be curious to see whether May's employment data have changed the body's economic projections.

Tailored Brands  (TLRD) - Get Tailored Brands, Inc. Report, owner of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, is considering options including a potential bankruptcy filing after the coronavirus lockdown kept America’s office workers at home, damping demand for new suits, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

Manufacturing and tech giant 3M  (MMM) - Get 3M Company Report said that it filed a lawsuit in federal court in California, alleging that an Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Inc. Report seller and affiliates "[charged] grossly inflated prices for fake, defective, and damaged respirator products." The defendants "falsely advertised as third-party sellers on Amazon under the 3M brand," the company statement said.

Drugmaker Gilead Sciences   (GILD) - Get Gilead Sciences Inc. Report - which has made headlines recently after getting the government's OK to use remdesivir as a potential coronavirus treatment - reportedly was targeted by AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get AstraZeneca PLC Report for a possible merger deal.

The report from Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the talks, said the merger would create the largest healthcare deal to date. The market capitalization of the merged companies would be about $232 billion.