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Dow, S & P 500 hit all-time highs

NEW YORK — The stock market returned to record levels on Monday as investors regained their appetite for riskier stocks.

After beating down Internet and small companies for two months, investors decided that those stocks had fallen enough. Among the big gainers were Twitter and Facebook, which had plunged in March and April. The Russell 2000, an index made up of small companies, climbed the most in two months.

"There is some bargain buying in some of the names that got hit hard in March and April," said Tim Courtney, chief investment officer at Exencial, an independent wealth management company.

On Monday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 18.17 points, or 1 percent, to finish at an all-time high of 1,896.65. The index last closed at a record high on April 2, when it reached 1,890.90.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 112.13 points, or 0.7 percent, to 16,695.47 Monday. The Dow's previous record high was 16,583.34, set Friday.

The Nasdaq climbed 71.99 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4,143.86.

The Russell 2000 index rose 26.4 points, or 2.4 percent, to 1,133.65, its biggest gain since March 4. The index had slumped almost 10 percent from March 4 to May 9 as investors sold riskier stocks. The Russell still remains down 2.6 percent for the year after surging 37 percent in 2013.

Gains on Monday were led by technology and industrial companies, sectors that are expected to benefit most if the economy starts growing faster.

Facebook rose $2.59, or 4.5 percent, to $59.83, reducing the stock's decline since March 10 to 17 percent. Twitter, another stock that has been beaten down recently, rose $1.89, or 5.9 percent, to $33.94.

Stocks also got a boost from some merger news.

Pinnacle Foods surged $4.02, or 13.2 percent, to $34.47 after the company agreed to be acquired by Hillshire Brands. Pinnacle's brands include Duncan Hines and Aunt Jemima, while Hillshire makes Jimmy Dean and Sara Lee products. Hillshire fell $1.19, or 3.2 percent, to $35.76.

For the year, the Dow is up 118.81 points, or 0.72 percent. The S&P 500 index is up 48.29 points, or 2.61 percent. And the Nasdaq is down 32.73 points, or 0.78 percent.

Dow, S & P 500 hit all-time highs 05/12/14 [Last modified: Monday, May 12, 2014 8:49pm]
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