Stocks on Track to Close Sixth Consecutive Quarter of Gains

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks were gaining on Monday in the final day of trading for the second quarter and first half of 2014. Benchmark U.S. indices are on track to close the quarter higher, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq looking at their sixth consecutive quarter of gains, a feat not seen in more than a decade. 

The S&P 500 is on track to close around 4.7% higher this quarter, the Dow Jones Industrial Average over 2%, and the Nasdaq up nearly 5%. 

By midmorning, the S&P had added 0.05% to 1,961.75, the Nasdaq climbed 0.17% to 4,405.31 and the Dow was slightly lower, down 0.05% to 16,843.49.

Markets closed last week lower, though benchmark U.S. indices gained over the session on Friday. Stocks spent much of the day mixed with few market-moving catalysts giving investors reason to jump in.

That will be less of a problem on Monday. Pending home sales in May increased 6.1% to 103.9, an eight-month high which buoyed hopes that a housing recovery will continue. Economists expected a 1.5% rise. 

Chicago PMI, released earlier Monday, showed strong growth at 62.6, above the 50-level which is indicative of expansion. 

European and Asian stocks were largely mixed Monday. Eurozone inflation was stable at 0.5%, its ninth straight month below the European Central Bank's 1% barometer for deflation and far from its target 2%.

It's a big day in Argentina as the country faces a deadline to pay bondholders; failing to do so it could enter into technical default. However, the deadline could be extended to July 30.

In individual stock news, MannKind  (MNKD) popped 9.9% to $10.99 after receiving Food and Drug Administration approval for Afrezza on Friday.

Kenneth Feinberg, specialist in high-profile payouts, detailed a victim compensation plan for General Motors  (GM). A widely publicized faulty ignition switch has caused 13 fatalities and many more injuries so far. Shares were up 0.22% to $36.70.

American Apparel  (APP) shares were correcting after shooting 29.8% higher heading into the close Friday. The retailer adopted a one-year stockholder rights plan to ward off attempts by ousted CEO Dov Charney to retake control. Charney, holder of a 27% stake, disclosed intentions to purchase an additional 10%. Shares were down 18.2% to 79 cents.

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