U.S. stocks advanced in early trade on Monday, as investors looked to extend a two-week winning streak in the major indexes.
The S&P 500 Index advanced 2.15 points, or 0.16 percent, to trade at 1,334.56 at 9:51 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 16.77 points, or 0.14 percent, to trade at 12,393.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.47 points, or 0.02 percent, to 2,790.07.
With no major economic data on Monday, investor attention is focused on the several Federal Reserve officials scheduled to speak this week, highlighted by Chairman Ben Bernanke tonight at 7:15 p.m. EDT.
On the political front, President Barack Obama began his bid for re-election in 2012 by releasing a campaign video on his website and sending an e-mail to supporters that said the job of preparing for his campaign must start today, the Bloomberg reported.
In the latest M&A activity, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) said it agreed to sell its Capsugel business, a maker of hard capsules, to private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Robert & Co. for $2.375 billion in cash.
Separately, Pfizer said it has received a Refusal-to-File letter from the United States Food and Drug Administration for tafamidis, the company’s oral investigational compound for patients with Transthyretin Familial Amyloid Polyneuropathy.
On the corporate front, Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) shares dropped 2.68 percent after it canceled more than 50 plans planes on continuation of inspection for fuselage cracks in its fleet of Boeing 737-300 jetliners. A U.S. safety investigator said on Sunday evidence of widespread fuselage cracks was found on a jet that made an emergency landing with a hole in the cabin.
In other company news, Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and IntercontinentalExchange Inc. are expected to face serious hurdles to their bid for NYSE Euronext.
Separately, Deutsche Boerse is holding off on making any decision as to whether to raise its rival offer for NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX), a Reuters report stated citing people familiar with the situation.
Vivendi SA said it has agreed to acquire a 44 percent stake in SFR, France's second largest mobile phone company, from Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) in a deal worth about 7.950 billion euros or $11.31 billion.
British oil giant BP Plc (BP) said it has agreed to sell its ARCO Aluminum Inc. subsidiary to a special purpose vehicle incorporated by a consortium of Japanese companies for about $680 million, as part of its divestment program.
U.S. stocks ended higher on Friday on strong jobs data. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 56.99 points, or 0.46 percent, to 12,376.72. The Standard & Poor's 500 advanced 6.58 points, or 0.50 percent, to 1,332.41. The Nasdaq Composite rose 8.53 points, or 0.31 percent, to 2,789.60.
The euro gained 0.0095 percent to 1.4238 against the dollar while the greenback lost 0.1505 percent against the yen to 83.9360. Crude oil futures advanced 0.04 percent to $107.98 a barrel and gold futures gained 0.62 percent.
European stock markets are currently trading higher with FTSE100 up by 18.92 points, DAX30 up by 14.35 points and CAC 40 up by 0.74 points.