This story was updated at 4 p.m. EDT
U.S. stocks closed up slightly Monday following a strong week as traders look toward earnings season and global commodity prices, which have been rallying on optimism that China will implement new stimulus measures. Large U.S. banks will be announcing earnings this week, starting with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), which is to announce its third-quarter results after markets close on Tuesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) closed up 47.44 points, or 0.28 percent, to 17,132. The S&P 500 index (INDEXSP:.INX) added 2.55 points, or 0.13 percent, to 2,017. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 8.17 points, or 0.17 percent, to 4,839. Eight of the 10 sectors were up, led by a nearly 1 percent rise in utilities stocks. Energy stocks dropped by 1.15 percent.
Dow component gains on Monday were led by health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH), Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) and Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE). Leading decliners were Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Co. (NYSE:DD).
On Monday, Dennis Lockhart and Charles Evans, two regional Federal Reserve bank presidents, said at separate events that an interest rate hike could still happen before the end of the year, but cautioned that the hikes would be gradual and contingent on solid U.S. economic data. Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said over the weekend that the central bank is being cautious but still plans to raise rates this year.
Global stocks were on their way to a ninth consecutive daily increase, largely over optimism that China would cut interest rates or lower the amount of money its lenders must set aside as reserve. Either move would help stimulate the world’s second-largest economy.
The rosy outlook in China helped boost commodity stocks and strengthened the currencies of resources-rich countries like Australia. Emerging market currencies continued their rally on Monday after their best week of the year.
European markets were mixed on Monday. Frankfurt’s DAX index closed slightly up after investors snatched up stocks from RWE AG (ETR:RWE) and E.ON SE (FRA:EOAN). The German Economy Ministry said Saturday the two utility giants had set aside enough funds to decommission nuclear power plants, which spurred the rally.
London’s FTSE 100 and Paris’ CAC 40 closed down slightly. Stocks in French aerospace systems builder Safran SA (EPA:SAF) and its British rival Rolls-Royce Holding plc (LON:RR) plunged on reports that European authorities were looking into possible anti-competitive practices in airplane maintenance contracts.
The Shanghai Composite Index closed up 3.5 percent for a third consecutive daily increase since markets reopened from a weeklong holiday. China will release export data on Tuesday and inflation numbers on Wednesday. Asian stocks continued their rally after their best week since 2011.
Oil prices dropped Monday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries announced that output increased in September by more than it had in over three years. West Texas Intermediate crude, the benchmark for U.S. oil prices, dropped 4.49 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange to $47.40 per barrel for November delivery. On the London ICE Futures Exchange, Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil prices, declined 4.65 percent to $50.20.