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Stocks end higher at start of holiday-shortened week

Stocks end higher at start of holiday-shortened week

Stocks gained Monday, with the Dow ending about where it started after the opening bell, up about 123 points. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.7%, the Nasdaq climbed 0.9% higher and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 0.8%. It was a rollercoaster day for the three benchmarks. Each tracked downward till about noon, before gaining, then falling again, and then climbing up until the 4 p.m. ET closing bell.the-percentage-of-americans-playing-the-stock-market-is-at-an-all-time-low

That followed a mixed showing in Asia: The Shanghai composite index rose 1.8%; Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.4%. Hard-hit oil prices appeared to be on their way to another seven-year low before reversing to close almost flat. A barrel of U.S. light crude was down more than 1% and nearing $34 early in the day bu rebounded to close up 1 cent at $34.66. Trading was thin as many investors took advantage of a holiday-shortened week. Markets close early on Thursday for Christmas Eve and are closed on Friday for Christmas Day.

The U.S. market was bouncing back from a pounding on Thursday and Friday that was its worst two-day loss since August. Seven of ten sectors are higher with telecom and healthcare leading the way. The Federal Trade Commission has rejected Staples’ offer to revise its $6.3 billion acquisition of rival Office Depot, casting more doubt on the completion of a merger of the two largest office supply chains. Office Depot shares were up 1.6% at $5.49. Staples stock was up 1.6% at $9.57.

Mobile technology maker Ericsson said it reached a global licensing agreement with gadget-maker Apple, requiring the tech giant to make a one-time payment to Ericsson, then provide ongoing royalties for the next seven years. The companies will also collaborate on new technology, including the jump to 5G networks. Ericsson shares (ERIC) jumped 4.2% to $9.51. Apple (AAPL) gained 1.2% to $107.33. Auto parts and repair chain Pep Boys – Manny, Moe, & Jack (PBY) climbed 6.9% to $16.85. The company said a revised offer it received Friday evening for $16.50 a share from financier Carl Icahn’s Icahn Enterprises is superior to its current agreement to be acquired by tire maker Bridgestone for $15.50 a share. Pep Boys’ board has given Bridgestone until 5 p.m. on Wednesday to respond.

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