By Kate Gibson
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks on Monday climbed for the first session in three after retail sales for October proved better than expected and equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. made a big move on the M&A front.
"Retail sales were decent, and talk of a double dip is gone. We haven't heard that in six to eight weeks now," said Jay Suskind, senior vice president at Duncan-Williams Inc.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) climbed 71.98 points, or 0.6%, to 11,264.56 with 24 of its 30 components trading higher. The blue-chip benchmark closed Friday at its lowest level since Nov. 2.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX) added 6.1 points, or 0.5%, to 1,205.31, with the financial sector ranking as the best performing of its 10 industry groups and technology as the weakest.
Regional banks were among the notable risers, with shares of Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) and Zions Bancorp (ZION) both up 3%.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) gained 6.56 points, or 0.3%, to 2,524.77.
The Commerce Department reported that retail sales climbed 1.2% last month on increased appetite for automobiles. .
Another report had manufacturing in the New York region contracting in November for the first time in more than a year.
Construction-machinery giant Caterpillar (CAT) said it would pay $7.6 billion in cash for mining-equipment maker Bucyrus International Inc. (BUCY). .
"The Caterpillar deal ... is important in the sense of does Caterpillar think we'll continue to see commodities go to the moon here, and they are at least bullish on economic growth," said Suskind.
On Monday, commodities and the U.S. dollar gained along with equities, with gold futures trading up fractionally to about $1,370 an ounce and crude-oil futures moving back above $85 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The dollar index (DXY) was recently at 78.525m, up from 78.106 late Friday.
Caterpillar wasn't alone on the acquisition front, with data-storage company EMC Corp. (EMC) saying it would buy Isilon Systems Inc. (ISLN) for $2.25 billion.
On the earnings front, Lowe's Cos. (LOW) reported an increase in third-quarter profit, but the home-improvement retailer cut its full-year earnings forecast. .
After the close, retailers Urban Outfitters Inc.(URBN) and Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) are both scheduled to report their quarterly results.
For every stock falling, nearly two rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where 344 million shares traded as of 12:40 p.m. Eastern.