The S&P 500 met tough resistance on Monday, failing to break a level that has held since mid-February even as a spate of deals and underlying strength in the economy spurred optimism.

Based on the latest available data, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 23.31 points, or 0.19 percent, to end unofficially at 12,400.03. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up just 0.46 of a point, or 0.03 percent, to finish unofficially at 1,332.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down only 0.41 of a point, or 0.01 percent, to close unofficially at 2,789.19.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Jan Paschal)