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Stocks rise on signs of stronger economy

Traders watched their moves this past week at

Traders watched their moves this past week at the New York Stock Exchange. Markets in the third week of December are expected to be influenced by economic data and the results of a two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee. (Dec. 16, 2013) Credit: AP

Stocks raced higher after two down weeks, as investors warmed up to the idea that the economy is getting better.

Two major deals caught investors' attention: Chipmaker Avago Technologies is buying LSI Corp. for $6.6 billion. And AIG is selling its aircraft leasing business for about $5.4 billion to a Dutch company.

Also Monday, the Federal Reserve said factory production accelerated in November.

Stocks have fallen lately after good economic news as investors worried that the Federal Reserve would think its stimulus was no longer needed. But yesterday's gains suggested that investors are focused more on growth and less on the central bank's actions.

The Fed meets for two days beginning Tuesday, and officials could signal when the Fed will dial back the stimulus that has helped boost the stock market this year.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 129.21 points to close at 15,884.57. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.63 percent to 1,786.54. The Nasdaq composite was higher 0.71 percent at 4,029.52.

The gains ended what had been a four-day losing streak for the S&P 500 index, beginning the week on the upbeat note. -- AP

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