Stocks pushed modestly higher on Monday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average to its fifth straight record high.
The Dow closed at 14,447.29, up 50.22 points or 0.4 per cent. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1556.22, up 5.04 points or 0.3 per cent – putting it within 9 points or just 0.6 per cent away from a record high of its own. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,858.49, up 22.88 points or 0.2 per cent, helped by a rally in shares of Research In Motion Ltd.
The moves follow the reaction of European markets to Friday's credit rating downgrade of Italy by Fitch Ratings. Fitch lowered the country's rating one notch, to triple B-plus.
However, the bond market took this in stride: The yield on Italy's 10-year government bond rose less than 4 basis points, to about 4.63 per cent. European equity markets were also tame: Germany's DAX index ended the day almost unchanged, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.3 per cent.
Research In Motion showed the biggest gains within the TSX, rising 13.9 per cent after rumours circulated that Chinese computer maker Lenovo was interested in making a bid for the BlackBerry maker. Analyst Peter Misek at Jefferies later said that a bid was unlikely, given U.S. securities concerns.
RIM was also supported by news that U.S. wireless carrier AT&T Inc. will start taking orders for the new BlackBerry 10 ahead of its U.S. launch on March 22.
Apple rose 1.4 per cent, shaking off an earlier decline after an analyst at Credit Agricole Securities became the latest to revise expectations on the stock. The analyst subtly lowered his recommendation to "outperform" from "buy" and reduced his price target to $505 (U.S.) from $575.
Dell Inc. rose 1.5 per cent after it granted financier Carl Icahn confidential access to its books, raising optimism that the company could see a bigger offer than the $13.65 a share it is offering shareholders in a leveraged buyout. Mr. Ichan has opposed the offer, made by Dell founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners as they attempt to take the company private.
Boeing Co. rose 2.1 per cent, hitting a new 52-week high, after a senior executive said the company had a permanent solution to the battery problems that had grounded the global fleet of new 787 Dreamliners.
Among commodities, crude oil rose to $92.06 a barrel, up 11 cents. Gold rose to $1,578 an ounce, up about $1.10.
Among Canadian commodity producers, Suncor Energy Inc. rose 0.4 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. fell 0.4 per cent.