Stocks Start October with a Bang

Stocks started the fourth quarter on an upbeat note Monday, with the Nasdaq notching a new post-2002 high and the Dow setting a new all-time high, as traders looked past disappointing earnings news from Citigroup on optimism that the worst of the credit crunch is over.

Investors also shook off a slightly weaker than expected national manufacturing survey to look ahead to Friday’s big monthly jobs report, an important data point after an unexpected decline last month.

The S&P 500 ended the day less than 1% from its all-time high, a level that has repeatedly stopped the market this year.

Corporate mergers played a big role in Monday’s trading session, although not necessarily for the better. Nokia announced plans to acquire Navteq for only a modest premium, sending shares of Garmin skidding on concerns about competition from Nokia.

Acxiom, meanwhile, plunged 20% to $15.89 after Silver Lake and ValueAct Capital backed out of an agreement to acquire the company.

Qualcomm slipped and Broadcom gained on news of a European antitrust investigation.

China Techfaith surged 21% on a licensing deal with Qualcomm.

eBay added 1.6% despite some changes and a $1.4 billion impairment charge at Skype.

NCR fell after spinning off its Teradata business.

Radvision plunged 17% after lowering guidance.

Maxim fell 4% on news that it will be dropped from the Nasdaq 100.

The Nasdaq rose 39 to 2740, the S&P climbed 20 to 1547, and the Dow soared 191 to 14,087. Volume rose to 3.25 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.01 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led by a 24-8 margin on the NYSE, and 21-8 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 80% on the NYSE, and 76% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 261-74 on the NYSE, and 188-85 on the Nasdaq.

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