U.S. stocks closed mixed Monday, as investors took in comments from Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Ben Bernanke.
In U.S. news, Bernanke said that the economy â€œsimply has not been growing fast enough recently to make significant progress in bringing down unemployment,â€ which has been flat at just above 8 percent since the start of the year. He also said that Congress should address the fiscal cliff because it could cause another recession. The Institute for Supply Managementâ€™s manufacturing index came in at 51.5 for September, marking the first expansion in the U.S. manufacturing sector in four months.
In international news, a report on eurozone manufacturing showed continued contraction, but the 46.1 figure for September was a six-month high. However, unemployment remains worrisome, with the regionâ€™s jobless rate at a record high of 11.4 percent in August, unchanged from the previous monthâ€™s revised figure. A central bank survey in Japan showed business sentiment has fallen. A report on manufacturing activity in China rose to 49.8 in September, up from 49.2 in the prior month.
In company news, financial stocks closed the day solidly higher. Shares of Goldman Sachs were up almost 3 percent, while Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase rose almost 1.5 percent. The prospects of a big merger in the international mining industry looked brighter, after Xstrataâ€™s board of directors said it was backing a revised offer from Glencoe International.
The dollar weakened against the euro, but rose versus the pound and the yen. Light sweet crude oil for November delivery rose 29 cents to $92.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures gained $9.40 to $1,783.40 an ounce.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 77.98, or 0.58 percent, to 13,515.11. The broader Standard & Poorâ€™s 500 index gained 3.82, or 0.27 percent, to 1,444.49. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index fell 2.70, or 0.09 percent, to 3,113.53.