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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Stocks move modestly higher

Associated Press

Stocks ended a volatile session moderately higher Monday as investors eyed soaring oil prices and the pending retirement of embattled Morgan Stanley CEO Phil Purcell as they awaited key economic reports due later this week.

With inflation and retail sales figures expected Tuesday and Wednesday, investors were wary of making big commitments, and pricey oil capped the session’s advance. The expectation of good economic news lent a definite upside bias to stocks, and Wall Street’s favorable reaction to Morgan Stanley’s announcement contributed to the market’s good humor. But analysts were reluctant to assign too much significance to the day’s trading.

“Morgan Stanley probably had some positive effect on the market, but the fact remains we have an extremely heavy data week ahead,” said Scott Wren, equity strategist for A.G. Edwards & Sons. “I think the market wants to go up, it’s becoming more and more convinced inflation will remain low, and growth, while slowing, will still be pretty good. On a day like today, given what we have ahead of us, it’ll be tough to make any real headway.”

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 9.93, or 0.09 percent, to 10,522.56, an improvement after the index dipped into negative range, but well off the day’s high of 10,589.16. After being stuck in a tight trading range for weeks, the Dow showed unusual volatility, swinging 115 points between its session high and session low.

Broader stock indicators also gave up earlier gains, but closed modestly higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 2.71, or 0.23 percent, at 1,200.82. The Nasdaq composite index added 5.96, or 0.3 percent, to 2,068.96.

Bonds continued last week’s sell-off, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rising to 4.09 percent, up from 4.05 percent late Friday. The dollar climbed to nine-month highs against the euro and the Japanese yen thanks to a better-than-expected U.S. trade deficit, reported Friday. Gold prices also rose.

Oil prices spiked higher ahead of this week’s OPEC meeting; members are expected to raise their daily output quota by half a million barrels, but analysts said the move was largely symbolic, and would do little to ease prices. Light crude for July deliver surged $2.08 to settle at $55.62 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a seven-week high.

Investors have been greatly preoccupied with the impact higher energy prices are having on inflation and consumer spending. The Labor Department’s May Producer Price Index, a measure of wholesale prices and an indicator of inflation, was due out Tuesday. The closely watched Consumer Price Index, which measures retail prices, comes out Wednesday.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by about 9 to 7 on the New York Stock Exchange. Preliminary volume came to 1.27 billion shares, compared with 1.25 billion traded at the same point Friday.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies was up 2.69, or 0.43 percent, at 629.02.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average rose 0.06 percent. In Europe, France’s CAC-40 gained 0.46 percent, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.40 percent and Germany’s DAX index added 0.29 percent.