The Nasdaq composite closed above 5000 for the first time since its peak during the dot-com boom nearly 15 years ago after merger news and an encouraging economic report helped push U.S. stocks broadly higher Monday.
The major indexes rose from the start, with the Nasdaq passing the 5000 milestone shortly before noon. The tech-heavy index then dropped before rising toward the close to end at 5008.10 — just 40 points from its March 2000 record.
Investors cheered a report from the government showing household incomes rose in January, although they spent less than a month earlier. Consumer discretionary stocks rose 1.2 percent on the news, the most of the 10 industry sectors of the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index.
“Today, it’s about the consumer,” said David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial. “Consumers appear to be feeling a little bit better.”
The S&P 500 closed up 12.89 points, or 0.6 percent, at 2117.39. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 155.93 points, or 0.9 percent, to 18,288.63. The Nasdaq rose 44.57 points, or 0.9 percent.
The broad gains on the first trading day of March came after the best monthly advance for stocks in more than three years. The S&P 500 climbed 5.5 percent in February, its biggest gain since October 2011.
In the U.S. government report, the dip in consumer spending in January was the second monthly drop in a row. But adjusted for inflation, spending rose. And analysts are expecting that the strong income gains will lead to more spending the rest of the year. Household income after taxes shot up 0.9 percent in January, the biggest gain in two years.
A top Google executive has confirmed what many have been speculating for months: The Internet search giant wants to start offering wireless service.
Google isn’t necessarily looking to become the next Verizon or AT&T, said Sundar Pichai, Google’s head of Android, at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Pichai said more details will trickle out in the next few months as Google announces partnerships with wireless carriers and other businesses, according to news reports. Analysts said Google is likely to partner with firms such as T-Mobile and Sprint rather than build its own network from scratch.
Asked whether Google’s aim was to drive wireless prices down for consumers, Pichai said the experiment’s goal is to showcase new mobile innovations, according to the Verge . An example: Technology that can automatically reconnect dropped calls.
But by adding wireless service to its very long chain of mobile offerings, Google would be showcasing something nobody else has tried: a unified cellular experience that's entirely within the Google ecosystem. Google sells a combination of hardware and software with its line of Nexus phones.
● Hewlett-Packard agreed to acquire Aruba Networks, a maker of wireless-network infrastructure used by hotels, universities and shopping malls, for $2.7 billion in cash to bolster its networking business. Aruba investors will get $24.67 a share, the companies said Monday in a statement. Including debt and cash, the deal has a value of $3 billion. This is the largest acquisition in several years for HP, where chief executive Meg Whitman has been focused on cutting costs and returning the business to growth. HP plans to split in two later this year, with Whitman remaining in charge of the business focused on corporate customers.
● Costco has chosen Citigroup and Visa to run its co-branded credit card starting next year, replacing American Express, which lost the coveted tie-up last month. Citigroup will exclusively issue the Costco-branded cards and Visa will provide the payment network in the United States and Puerto Rico from April 1, 2016, Costco said. The deal means that Costco customers will only be able to use Visa credit cards at its stores, as is the case with American Express cards.
● Robert Califf joined the Food and Drug Administration as the deputy commissioner after more than 30 years as a researcher and administrator at Duke University. For years, Califf, 63, has served on committees that advise the FDA on scientific and medical matters. The George W. Bush and Obama administrations had considered Califf for the agency’s top job. The timing of his appointment raised speculation that he may eventually be nominated to lead the agency. The week after announcing Califf’s new position, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said she would leave the agency after nearly six years on the job.
● U.S. construction spending fell 1.1 percent in January following a revised 0.8 percent increase in December, the Commerce Department reported. Spending on home construction rose 0.6 percent, but spending on nonresidential projects dropped 1.6 percent, reflecting declines in hotels, office buildings and the category that covers shopping centers. Spending on government projects also declined in January, falling 2.8 percent.
● U.S. factories expanded last month at their weakest pace in a year, with orders, hiring and production all growing more slowly. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said its manufacturing index slipped to 52.9 in February from 53.5 in January. It was the fourth straight drop and the lowest reading since January 2014. Still, any reading above 50 signals expansion.
● Keolis Commuter Services, the company that operates the Massachusetts commuter rail system, has been fined more than $434,000 after nearly two-thirds of the trains were late or canceled during the heavy snowfalls that pounded the region last month, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said. An on-time performance rate of about 35 percent warranted the maximum fine allowed under the company’s contract with the state, the MBTA said. Keolis disputed the fine, blaming unprecedented February snowfalls as acts of nature beyond its control.
● All day: Motor-vehicle sales for February.
● Earnings: Best Buy.