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S&P 500 closes just short of record

Stocks were up strongly in early trading Monday,

Stocks were up strongly in early trading Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. On Friday, trader Joseph Lawler works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo Credit: AP / Richard Drew

The stock market ended higher Monday, but a late fade kept it from closing at an all-time high.

The market marched broadly higher most of the day, helped by optimism about the economy and more corporate mergers, only to slowly lose momentum in the final half-hour of trading.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index ended up 0.62 percent to 1,847.61 -- just short of its record close of 1,848.38, set on Jan. 15. The momentum helped the index set a new intraday high of 1,858.76 earlier in the day, however.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 103.84 points to 16,207.14 and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.69 percent to 4,292.97.

Investors had little in the way of economic data or corporate earnings to work through, so much of their focus was on another round of corporate deal making.

Chipmaker RF Micro Devices jumped $1.22, or 21 percent, to $7.03 after it said it would buy a competitor, TriQuint Semiconductor, in an all-stock deal valued at about $1.56 billion. And men's clothing chain Jos. A. Bank rose $4.99, or 9.06 percent, to $60.04 after competitor Men's Wearhouse increased its buyout offer. -- AP

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