NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks finished with solid gains Monday, buoyed by surging commodities that were themselves lifted by a weakening dollar, but the major equity indexes stayed locked within a tight trading range ahead of Friday's jobs report. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 46 points, or 0.4%, to 10,896. The S&P 500 gained 7 points, or 0.6%, to 1173 and the Nasdaq went ahead by 9 points, or 0.4%, to 2404. One market observer said the movement was indicative of traders positioning themselves ahead of the government nonfarm payroll report, which is due Friday, the same day the stock market will be closed for Good Friday. "I think what the market is trying to do here is game a little in advance of Friday's jobs report, which it won't be able to trade on until Monday," said Paul Nolte, managing director at Dearborn Partners. "People are getting ready for Friday, getting ready for the number, and getting ready for church." Markets also showed little reaction to news that two female
suicide bombers set off separate explosions on Moscow's subway system Monday morning, killing at least 36 people. Greece plans to issue a new seven-year bond in its first debt offering since the European Union and International Monetary Fund pledged support to the country last week. Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lifted 0.9%, and Japan's Nikkei fell 0.09%. The FTSE in London added 0.1%, and the DAX in Frankfurt gained 0.6%.
The EconomyAhead of the opening bell, the Commerce Department said personal spending rose 0.3% as expected, in February after growing 0.4% in January. Personal incomes, however, remained unchanged while economists had projected an uptick of 0.1%. PNC economist Stuart Hoffman blamed the lack of improvement in personal incomes on weak job growth. "In the February income report, wage and salary income was unchanged for the month, in line with near neutral net job creation," Hoffman said, adding that wages and salaries comprise roughly half of total personal income.
Company NewsEnergy and basic materials stocks were the day's best performers, aided by a weaker dollar. Exxon ( XOM) and Chevron ( CVX) were among the Dow's biggest gainers, after Caterpillar ( CAT), Merck ( MRK) and Alcoa ( AA). Boeing ( BA), however, was the Dow's top advancer. Southwestern Energy ( SWN) led the gainers within the S&P 500, surging 8%, after receiving an upgrade and being added to the conviction list at Goldman Sachs. British petroleum company
Commodities and the DollarCrude oil for May delivery added $2.17 to settle at $82.17 a barrel, while the April