NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Th e Dow Jones Industrial Average finished within striking distance of 12,000 Monday, fueled by a rally in materials stocks on dollar weakness and a bounce in tech following Intel's ( INTC) dividend and buyback announcement. The blue-chip index, which has risen for eight straight weeks, surged 109 points, or 0.9%, to close at 11,980, just shy of its session-high of 11,983. The S&P 500 rose 7 points, or 0.6%, to finish at 1291, and the Nasdaq Composite ramped up 28 points, or 1%, to close at 2717. Cisco Systems ( CSCO), IBM ( IBM) and Microsoft ( MSFT) were among the big percentage gainers within the Dow after fellow tech bellwether Intel ( INTC) raised its quarterly dividend to 18.12 cents a share and authorized another $10 billion in its share buyback program . Intel was up 1.4% to $21.12, while shares of both IBM and Cisco tacked on over 2% each. Alcoa ( AA), however, was the Dow's best performer, gaining more than 4%, as a weaker U.S. dollar contributed to gains seen across the basic materials sector. Caterpillar ( CAT) stood out as well, advancing nearly 2%. The dollar weakened against a basket of currencies as the dollar index slipped 0.2%. Financials were among the day's weakest performers with Bank of America ( BAC) and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) among the Dow's biggest laggards. Only six of the Dow's 30 components ended in the red. After the bell, American Express ( AXP) said fourth quarter profits rose 47% to $1.1 billion, or 88 cents per share. Analysts were expecting 94 cents. The stock was down 1.3% in extended trading. Volume totaled 956 million on the New York Stock Exchange while more than 1.8 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. Market breadth was positive with 68% of shares listed on the Big board closing higher, while 29% lost ground. Jay Suskind, senior vice president at Duncan Williams, attributed the day's gains to the good results so far this earnings season. He also noted that comments about future business conditions indicate there are few major roadblocks to growth, a sentiment that has shown itself in moderately improving economic numbers. "The aggregate mood of the market is that things are improving. The market is finally trading on fundamentals," Suskind said. "If you look at where the market is and how it's been trading, it's probably realistic that it could move higher."