Stocks Hold to Small Gains on Day Devoid of Data

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks were slightly higher on Monday in the absence of major economic data after the markets on Friday again pushed into fresh record closing territory.

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average both achieved their third consecutive weekly gains, with the S&P attaining its 18th record finish of the year and the Dow hitting its eight record settlement year to date.

With the S&P 500 now up 5.5% this year and heading closer toward 2,000, there's the inevitable question of whether there will be a correction during the second half of the year or if the rally will continue.

Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist and economist at Wells Capital Management, said in a note that although some of the major indicators he's watching to gauge potential correction pressures facing the stock market are "flashing yellow," none are yet red and overall they don't yet suggest any significant downside risks for equities as a whole.

However, he does expect the stock market to experience a correction at some point, perhaps ending the year about where it began. The correction indicators he's watching include a more aggressive pace to stock gains, diminishing calls for a correction, rising bond yields, evidence that risks of inflation is behind, and more hawkish Federal Reserve discussions.

The S&P 500 was rising 0.18% to 1,952.99. The Dow was adding 0.14% to 16,947.59. The Nasdaq was up 0.52% to 4,343.77.

Apple's (AAPL) split-adjusted pricing began in Monday trading. The stock was trading at $96.66, up 1.6%, on Monday.

Stock worth watching Monday include Tyson Foods (TSN), Pilgrim's Pride (PPC), and Hillshire Brands (HSH), as well as Netflix (NFLX), Credit Suisse (CS)and Family Dollar (FDO). Tyson Foods outbid Pilgrim's Pride to gain control of Hillshire Brands, the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs. Tyson was down 4.8%, Pilgrim's Pride was off 5.7%, and Hillshire Brands was popping 5%. Family Dollar was jumping 14% after activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed a 9.4% stake in the discount retailer and said that he may push for the exploration of strategic alternatives for the company.

Netflix shareholders will vote Monday at the company's annual meeting on a proposal by two public pension funds to separate the roles of chairman and CEO, which are both held by Reed Hastings, the streaming media service's cofounder. Shares were sliding 0.9% on Monday.

Credit Suisse is considering splitting off a piece of its fixed-income trading business into a separate company, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

European markets were relatively quiet on Monday. Germany's DAX Index closed higher than the 10,000 mark on Monday.

-- By Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York

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