Stocks held higher on Monday morning as an early-morning surge in crude oil prices plateaued around $47 a barrel.
The S&P 500 gained 0.38%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.15%, and the Nasdaq was higher by 0.38%. The S&P 500 traded at an intraday record of 2,193.72 earlier in the session, while the Nasdaq scored a new record of 5,359.9.
Crude oil prices surged on Monday morning after Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested a willingness to agree to a production freeze deal with Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
"We will do everything that our partners from OPEC are expecting," Putin told reporters after an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. "To freeze crude production is not an issue for us."
Putin also said there was a "high probability" that OPEC can agree on a production freeze details at a meeting in Vienna scheduled for Nov. 30. Iraq's oil minister, Jabbar al-Luaibi, added to optimism over the weekend after alluding to a number of new proposals that will be presented at the meeting in order to secure a deal. The alternatives "will make it easier for OPEC members to make a decision," he told The Wall Street Journal.
Oil prices have fluctuated as hopes over an OPEC deal rose and signs of a global supply glut exacerbated by record production from the world's largest oil producers continued. OPEC aims to limit production to 32.5 million to 33 million barrels a day. The bloc reached a record 33.83 million barrels a day last month.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped 2.8% to $46.96 a barrel on Monday morning.
The likelihood of a December rate hike looked even more certain on Monday morning after Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer touted recent improvements in the U.S. economy.
"Notwithstanding a number of shocks over the past year, the U.S. economy is performing reasonably well," Fischer said in prepared comments to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "After running at a subdued pace during the first half of the year, gross domestic product growth has picked up in the most recent data, and inflation has been firming toward the Federal Open Market Committee's 2 percent target."
The chances of a December hike currently sit at 95%, according to CME Group fed funds futures. Fed members have recently turned more hawkish, noting that the U.S. economy has strengthened enough to withstand higher interest rates. The Federal Open Market Committee kept its fed funds rate unchanged at its November meeting, but said that the case for a hike had strengthened.
Trading is expected to be quieter in this holiday-shortened week. Markets will be closed on Thursday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Markets will reopen on Friday but close early at 1 p.m. EST.
3M (MMM) was the worst performer on the Dow after Goldman Sachs downgraded its rating to sell from neutral. Its price target was reduced to $159 from $167. Analysts pointed to expected weakness in its energy and electronics businesses as reason for the downgrade.
Tyson Foods (TSN) tumbled more than 15% after falling short of profit and sales estimates in its fiscal fourth quarter. Adjusted earnings of 96 cents a share fell short of estimates of $1.16, while revenue of $9.16 billion missed consensus of $9.4 billion. Beef revenue declined 7.4% and chicken revenue sank 10%. The company also announced that CEO Donnie Smith would step down at the end of the year with President Tom Hayes as his replacement.
Symantec (SYMC) agreed to acquire LifeLock (LOCK) in an all-cash deal worth $2.3 billion. The company offered $24 a share, a 16% premium to LifeLock's Friday close. The move bolsters Symantec's entry into cybersecurity software, branching out from its traditional antivirus software business. LifeLock shares rose 15%.
Novartis (NVS) fell more than 1% after agreeing to acquire Selexys Pharmaceuticals. The deal could total $665 million in upfront payments, as well as other milestone payouts. Selexys specializes in treatments for blood disorders, including sickle-cell disease.
Oracle (ORCL) agreed to acquire Web service company Dyn on Monday. Dyn was victim of a massive Internet attack in October that affected popular sites including Twitter and Netflix. The company offers services to online companies to make load times faster and traffic flows more manageable. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Headwaters (HW) rocketed 18% higher after Australian company Boral agreed to purchase the Utah-based construction materials maker for $1.86 billion. Boral offered $24.25 a share in an all-cash deal, a 55% premium to the closing price Friday of Headwaters. The purchase is a bet on President-elect Donald Trump's proposed infrastructure spending plans.
Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) was downgraded to underperform from sector perform at RBC Capital. The firm said the retailer is seeing lower sales and facing higher international costs.
Fossil (FOSL) was upgraded to neutral from underweight at Piper Jaffray. Analysts said the company is setting up well to turn the business around in the medium term.