Stocks Notch Modest Gains Monday

(AP ) -- U.S. stocks ended slightly higher on Monday after a mostly listless day of trading. The Nasdaq composite managed to eke out its second straight record high.

Investors had their eye on company earnings news after weeks of fretting over Greece's debt crisis and a steep slide in China's stock market.

"We're focused on earnings and they're coming in better," said Quincy Krosby, a market strategist at Prudential Financial. "Even though the estimates have been lowered, the companies beating are beating very nicely."

Technology stocks rose more than the rest of the market. Gold slumped to its lowest level in five years, pulling mining stocks lower. A nearly three-week slump in oil prices deepened.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 13.96 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,100.41. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 1.64 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,128.28. The Nasdaq rose 8.72, or 0.2 percent, to 5,218.86, eclipsing its previous record set last Friday.

The three major indexes are up for the year. The S&P is up 3.4 percent, while the Dow is up 1.6 percent. The Nasdaq has gained 10.2 percent this year.

Stocks briefly wavered in early trading Monday, but mostly remained on course for a gain as traders reviewed the latest earnings reports.

Toymaker Hasbro and the oil and gas company Halliburton rose after reporting results Monday that were better than analysts were expecting.

Hasbro climbed $4.90, or 6.3 percent, to $83.15. Halliburton added 73 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $40.72.

PayPal surged 5.4 percent on its first day of trading as a stand-alone company after its separation from eBay. PayPal gained $2.08 to $40.47.

Newmont Mining slid 12.2 percent as gold prices slumped. The stock lost $2.53 to $18.16.

All told, seven of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 moved higher, led by technology stocks. The sector is up 5.7 percent this year. Energy stocks fell the most, extending the sector's losses for the year to 10.5 percent.

It's a slow week for major economic news, but investors have their hands full with about 129 companies expected to report earnings.

More than 20, including Microsoft and Apple, will be delivering earnings on Tuesday.

Analysts forecast that second-quarter earnings by companies in the S&P 500 will shrink 3.4 percent compared with the prior year, according to S&P Capital IQ.

Earnings are taking center stage once again as fears over a Greek exit from the euro have abated.

On Monday, Greek banks reopened for the first time in more than three weeks. The European Union sent Athens the short-term money it needs to pay off a 4.2 billion-euro ($4.6 billion) debt to the European Central Bank and clear its arrears with the International Monetary Fund. Other hurdles remain before Greece secures its third bailout.

In energy futures trading, the price of oil continued its nearly three-week slump as it fell with other commodities over concerns over weakening demand in China.

Benchmark U.S. crude dipped below $50 briefly for the first time since April and closed down 74 cents to $50.15 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 45 cents to close at $56.65 in London.

In other futures trading on the NYMEX, wholesale gasoline rose 0.1 cent to close at $1.930 a gallon. Heating oil fell 0.6 cent to close at $1.658 a gallon. Natural gas fell 4.7 cents to close at $2.823 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Precious and industrial metals futures ended lower. Gold slumped $25.10 to $1,106.80 an ounce. Gold is trading at a five-year low as its appeal as a safe haven asset and a hedge against inflation have waned. Silver lost 8 cents to $14.75 an ounce. Copper fell two cents to $2.48 a pound.

U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.38 percent from 2.35 percent late Friday.

(KA)