Better-than-expected home sales, strong manufacturing data and lower oil prices Monday halted an initial decline in U.S. stocks and brought them tantalizingly close to a closing above 13,000.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said manufacturing in the Texas area expanded this month at its strongest pace since November 2010. Pending home sales in January rose 2 percent, double what was expected.

Despite the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing below 13,000 -- after spending much of the day above that level -- the broader S&P 500 climbed to its highest level since June 2008.

Stocks. East Asian, Indian and European equities were mostly lower. In the U.S., financials and consumer discretionary issues led equity markets up. Since Jan. 1, the broader S&P 500 index is up nearly 9 percent.

Bonds. Retail investors continued moving into junk bonds for the income and relative low volatility. Treasuries rose, cutting yields by 2.78 percent to 1.92.

Commodities. Crude oil fell, breaking a seven session winning streak. Copper pared losses to close slightly higher. Gold finished fractionally off of its three-month high.

Currencies. The yen rose against the dollar, which was up against the euro. Resource-based currencies traded lower. Key South American currencies slipped, including Brazil's real, Argentina's peso and Mexico's peso.