NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 was trading on Monday near its record close, posting modest gains as factory orders in March climbed at their fastest pace since July.
U.S. markets were following a rally by international stocks. Chinese markets gained after weak factory data fueled hopes for more monetary stimulus, and European shares spiked on reports Greek debt talks were making progress.
The S&P 500 was up 0.43% to 2,117.3. The benchmark index had closed at an all-time high of 2,117.69 on April 24. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.43%, and the Nasdaq climbed 0.49%.
New orders for manufactured goods increased 2.1% in March following a 0.1% decrease a month earlier, according to the Commerce Department. Economists had expected a 2% increase.
The manufacturing sector in the eurozone expanded in April, though at a slower pace than the month earlier. Markit's final manufacturing PMI slipped to 52, remaining close to March's 10-month high of 52.2.
Negotiations between Greece and its European creditors have made progress, a government official said over the weekend, noting that an agreement could come this month. Discussions will continue on Monday as the country races to score further debt relief ahead of a May 12 repayment to the International Monetary Fund.
Chinese stocks bounced nearly 1% higher as weak China factory activity fueled hopes the People's Bank of China will introduce further monetary stimulus to revive a flagging economy. The HSBC final Purchasing Managers' Index fell at its fastest pace in a year, down to 48.9 in April from 49.6 in March.
McDonald's (MCD) shares fell after the fast food chain unveiled its turnaround strategy. The company said it will focus on operational charges but failed to address its menu, one reason consumers are turning to other fast food options such as Chipotle (CMG).
Charter Communications (CHTR) is in talks with Time Warner Cable (TWC) after the latter's planned merger with Comcast (CMCSA) fell through, according to The Wall Street Journal. Charter is reportedly pursuing a less hostile approach than its failed takeover last year.
Comcast jumped 1% after reporting quarterly earnings of 79 cents a share, 5 cents better than expected. Revenue increased 2.5% to $17.85 billion.
Diamond Offshore (DO) was slightly lower despite beating expectations on its top- and bottom-lines. The company reported earnings of 50 cents a share, 7 cents higher than forecast. Revenue slid 12.6% to $620 million as plunging oil prices affected its drilling business.
Sysco (SYY) slipped nearly 1% after missing expectations in its third quarter. The food distributor is also preparing to fight for its merger with U.S. Foods on Tuesday. The company will face off with the Federal Trade Commission in a Washington federal court.
Cisco (CSCO) named Chuck Robbins as its new CEO, effective July 26. Robbins was formerly senior vice president of worldwide operations and will replace John Chambers as CEO, who served 20 years at the post.