The first trading session of March kicks off with the Nasdaq finishing above the 5,000 mark and the Dow and S&P 500 hitting new records. Jeanne Yurman reports.
U.S. stocks advanced on Monday, pushing the Nasdaq above the 5,000 mark for the first time in fifteen years. The dollar hit an 11-year high on expectations the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates later this year. Economic news not as strong... consumer spending fell for a second month in January, and personal income came in just short of expectations. Separate reports on manufacturing muddled the picture, with Markit's final PMI hitting a four-month high, and ISM falling to its lowest in 13 months. Steve Ricchiuto, U.S. economist at Mizuho Securities. (SOUNDBITE) STEVE RICCHIUTO, U.S. ECONOMIST, MIZUHO SECURITIES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The currency is the big driver behind the manufacturing story. Because what we're seeing is that the U.S. is not the most competitive producer on the block and we're suffering the competitive advantages that overseas manufacturers are producing, and we're also seeing that in our trade deficit numbers here." A Monday full of mergers on the trading floor... The stock of chip maker NXP Semiconductors jumped after it said it's buying smaller peer Freescale Semiconductor. Shares of Freescale also up. The combined company is valued at $40 billion. Investors also liked the news about medical device maker Boston Scientific buying Endo International for $1.65 billion. But Hewlett-Packard's stock fell after it said it's shelling out $2.7 billion for Wi-Fi network gear maker Aruba Networks. Aruba was down as well though it rose when news of the talks came out last week. European equities ended the day mostly lower on slipping Greek banks and oil shares.