Stock Market Today: Bulls Take Charge as Stocks Rally

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --  The markets aren't about to hit a big road bump and will stay resilient in the face of negative headlines. Don't get caught on the wrong side of the trade; stay focused to the upside.

The major U.S. stock markets were stronger on Monday in anticipation of a heavy week for economic events and as jitters over Ukraine eased a bit. Sound economic fundamentals continued to be in play on Monday after the NAHB Housing Market Index for August rose to 55, the highest reading since January. The number of stocks rising with the market far exceeded the number of declining stocks by a ratio of about four-to-one on the New York Stock Exchange and more than three-to-one on the Nasdaq -- 145 issues were making new 52-week highs vs. 12 creating new 52-week lows. The tech-heavy Nasdaq hit a more than 13-year high on Monday on a 0.96% gain by this economically sensitive sector. The leaders were Apple (AAPL) , Yahoo! (YHOO) and Google (GOOG) .

"Both the intermediate and longer-term technical picture of the market remains bullish. We have not seen any uptrend violations that would suggest otherwise," said Piper Jaffray technical market analyst Craig Johnson.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was gaining 1.04% to 16,836.21. The S&P 500 was tacking on 0.83% to 1,971.36. The Nasdaq was higher by 0.89% to 4,504.38. The major U.S. stock markets edged off their worst levels of the day in the final hour of trading Friday and finished the week higher as fears about Russia-Ukraine were balanced by signs that the U.S. economy appears to be on track for a solid, sustained recovery.

Ceasefire hopes ensued Monday after Russia said that Russian and Ukranian foreign ministers who met in Berlin over the weekend have reached an agreement to allow Moscow's controversial humanitarian aid convoy into rebel-held territory. The White House said it has not been able to confirm the reports from Friday that Ukrainian troops partially destroyed a Russian military convoy.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is expected to provide more insight into the speed of the labor market recovery at this week's annual meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyo. from Aug. 21 through Aug. 23. Market watchers are also hoping that she will address the question of whether the central bank will eliminate ultra-low rates by early next year in the wake of rising inflationary pressures. Shedding further light on the economy and the Fed's rate hiking blueprint this week will be the release of the July consumer price index and July housing starts on Tuesday, the FOMC minutes on Wednesday, and existing home sales for July on Thursday.

In corporate news Monday, Dollar General (DG) offered to buy Family Dollar (FDO) for $9.7 billion, topping a bid from Dollar Tree (DLTR) . Dollar General was popping 9.59% to $62.97, while Family Dollar was gaining 5.02% to $79.88. Dollar Tree was slipping 1.84% to $54.59.

SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) was up 2.09% to $19.05 following an "outperform" ratings initiation at Credit Suisse. CBS (CBS) shares were up 0.47% to $60.27 after Evercore Partners reiterated its "conviction buy" rating on the media company.

--By Andrea Tse in New York

Follow @AndreaTTse

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