NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks continued to grind higher with little news to spur action and trading at below-average volume. Markets were on a tear last week after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and colleagues said the central bank would remain "patient" in its approach to interest rate hikes.
The S&P 500 added 0.39% to 2,078, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 156 points, and the Nasdaq was up 0.34%.
Oil prices fell Monday with West Texas Intermediate crude down 3.5% to $55.16 a barrel after a brief rebound earlier. Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said his country was prepared to increase output to meet the demands of new customers, according to Saudi newspaper al-Hayat.
As Wall Street enters its final two holiday-shortened weeks of the year, trading volume likely will remain light and corporate announcements scant. Existing home sales slid 6.1% to 4.93 million in November, down from 5.25 million a month earlier and missing estimates of an annualized pace of 5.17 million.
"This morning's disappointing home sales figures are part of the reason for the [Fed's] more lackluster assessment of the U.S. economy," said Sterne Agee chief economist Lindsey Piegza in a note. "Despite modest improvements in the labor market, consumers are still struggling with minimal income growth, dilapidated savings and in some cases, limited access to credit."