Stocks finished higher on Monday as investors seemed to brush off escalating geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. The S&P 500 erased an earlier decline to close 0.4% higher. The Dow added 68 points, bouncing back from a 216-point drop earlier in the session. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.6%.
U.S. equities rebounded in afternoon trading despite Friday’s news of a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, which killed a top Iranian military commander. In response, Iraq’s government voted to expel foreign troops from the country, while Iran announced that it would no longer comply with uranium enrichment restrictions. In trade news, a report indicated that top Chinese officials plan to visit Washington to sign the “phase one” accord on January 15th.
Treasuries steadied after strengthening the most in a month on Friday. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note added basis point to 1.80%. On the data front, research firm IHS Markit’s final PMI reading showed that the U.S. services sector expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in December. In commodities, WTI crude added 0.3% to $63.27/barrel, on the heels of Friday’s 3% jump. COMEX gold advanced 1% to $1,568.20/ounce, drifting from a six-year high.
Eight of 11 S&P 500 sectors closed in positive territory. The Communication Services group paced gains, with Google parent Alphabet climbing 2.7% after being the subject of an analyst upgrade. In corporate news, American Airlines shed 1.2% and Delta Air Lines lost 0.7% on worries of higher fuel costs.