NEW YORK – Stocks rose in quiet trading Monday as investors start to close the books on 2013.
Apple helped lift technology stocks after the company reached a deal to sell the iPhone to China’s largest wireless carrier.
The market has been moving broadly higher since Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve said it will start pulling back on its stimulus program next month as the U.S. economy improves. Last week, the government also raised its estimate for third-quarter economic growth to 4.1 percent, the fastest pace since 2011.
“Everything is going in the right direction,” said Rob Stein, chief executive officer of Chicago-based Astor Investment Management.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 73.47 points, or 0.5 percent, to 16,294.61. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 9.67 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,827.99. The Nasdaq composite rose 44.16 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,148.90.
Technology stocks in the S&P 500 rose 1.5 percent, more than twice as much as the broader index.
Trading was very light ahead of the Christmas holiday. Just 2.8 billion shares were traded on the New York Stock Exchange, well below the recent average of 3.4 billion.
Both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market will be closed Wednesday for Christmas. Both exchanges will also close at 1 p.m. Eastern today for Christmas Eve.
The market is heading for its best year in more than a decade. The S&P 500 index has increased 28 percent so far this year – 30 percent when dividends are included – putting it on track for its biggest annual gain since 1997.
“People want to hold on to these gains, so no one is going to take any undue risks this close to the end of the year,” said Stephen Carl, head equity trader at Williams Capital. The next two weeks, with Christmas and New Year’s Day both falling in the middle of the workweek, will likely have light trading, he said.
In other economic news, consumer spending rose 0.5 percent in November, the most since June. Those are closely watched figures, especially leading up to the holiday season.
Facebook rose $2.65, or 5 percent, to $57.77. The social network was added to the S&P 500 effective Monday. Fund managers who replicate indexes like the S&P 500 are required to purchase stocks in a company when it’s added.
Target fell 61 cents, or 1 percent, to $61.88 after the Wall Street Journal reported that sales fell 3 percent to 4 percent in last weekend before Christmas.
Bond prices fell slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.93 percent from 2.89 percent.
An S&P index of homebuilders rallied 4 percent to the highest level in five months as all 11 members advanced. KB Home gained 7.6 percent to $18.19 after Citigroup Inc. upgraded the shares to neutral from sell, citing strengthening demand.
Darden Restaurants Inc. rallied 6.4 percent to $54.35 for the biggest gain in the S&P 500. The owner of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse slid 3.5 percent last week after announcing it will separate the Red Lobster seafood chain.
The plan falls short of activist investor Barington Capital Group LP’s proposals for a bigger shakeup, including ways to profit from its real estate.
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.