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U.S. equities traded higher on Monday as investors cheered an election in Japan and tried to extend a jobs-report rally.

Fred Imbert

The benchmark S&P 500 index hit a new all-time intraday high soon after the open, breaking a previous record set May 20, 2015. In early trade, information technology and financials lead the S&P, with utilities lagging.

"I've been expecting a record close for a while," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. "It's a good thing because it cements this 7-year-old market, which is the second longest in history."

The Dow Jones industrial held about 80 points higher, after briefly rising 100 points, while the Nasdaq composite was up more than half a percent.

"I think what we're seeing is the successful election for [Shinzo] Abe ... is fueling the rally here," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial. "Basically, it's a post-labor report rally helped by the elections in Japan."

Abe's coalition notched a landslide victory for the upper house in Japan's parliament. Abe had cast the election as a referendum on his "Abenomics" recipe of hyper-easy monetary policy, spending and reform. With signs the strategy is failing, the government plans to compile a post-election stimulus package that could exceed 10 trillion yen ($99 billion).

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the U.S. economy added 287,000 jobs, easily beating expectations.

The jobs-report beat boosted U.S. stocks, leaving the S&P 500 within striking distance of its all-time intraday high.

This week, Wall Street will brace itself for an array of speeches from Federal Reserve officials.

"We get bombarded with Fed speak this week just as the fed funds futures market is saying the Fed won't definitively raise rates again until December 2018. The last Fed dots had the expected fed funds rate at 2.4% by the end of 2018 vs 3% seen in March. The disconnect and disbelief continues," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, said in a Monday note to clients.
Kansas City Fed President Esther George is scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. ET Monday, while Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester is scheduled to speak after the close. Other Fed officials scheduled to speak this week include St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari.

Investors and traders will also digest a slew of economic data sets this week, including the latest jobs opening and labor turnover survey (JOLTS) and wholesale trade data, both due Tuesday, and import-export prices, due Wednesday.

Also on deck this week is the start of earnings season, with Alcoa set to report quarterly results Monday after the close.

The Fed will also release its latest edition of the Beige Book, a summary of current economic conditions released eight times a year.

Global bond yields have been under pressure recently, amid global growth concerns, with 10-year yields trading near all-time lows. On Monday, the benchmark yield held near 1.40 percent, while two-year note yields traded around 0.63 percent.

The dollar index held about 0.2 percent higher, with the euro near $1.106 and the yen about 2 percent lower versus the greenback. The British pound briefly spiked after U.K. lawmaker Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the race to become the country's prime minister, clearing the way for Interior Minister Theresa May.

In oil markets, U.S. crude traded about 0.5 percent higher, near $45.65.

European stocks rose broadly, with the Stoxx 600 index gaining more than 1 percent.

In Asia, stocks surged, as the Nikkei 225 rose about 4 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average traded 86 points higher, or 0.49 percent, at 18,235, with Boeing leading advancers and Procter & Gamble the greatest laggard.

The S&P 500 rose 8 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,138, with information technology leading seven sectors higher and utilities lagging.
The Nasdaq gained 29 points, or 0.6 percent, to trade at 4,987.
The CBOE Volatility index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, tradedhigher, near 13.4.

About five stocks advanced for every decliner on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 75 million and a composite volume of 216 million in early trade.

U.S. oil rose 6 cents to $45.47 a barrel.

Gold futures for August delivery were flat, at $1,358.40 per ounce as of 9:46 a.m.



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