Stocks ended higher Monday as crude oil futures retreated from record highs, which briefly topped $58 per barrel in early trading, and the shares of troubled American International Group Inc. surged on reports that it was close to a legal settlement.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 16.84, or 0.2 percent, to close at 10,421.14. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 3.20, or 0.3 percent, at 1,176.12. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 6.26, or 0.3 percent, to 1,991.07.
Oil prices again kept investors on edge after reaching a new intraday high of $58.28 early in the morning. But oil futures settled at $57.01, down 26 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange calming the markets.
AIG gained $2.35, or 4.4 percent, to $53.30 after New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said he expects to reach a civil resolution with the insurer over its accounting and business practices. He also said the company was fully cooperating with his investigation.
Among local movers, shares of National Lampoon Inc. gained 15.9 percent to close at $3.50 after the L.A.-based company signed a marketing, production and programming agreement with Planet X Television, a unit of San Diego-based Planet X Entertainment Group, to expand into the genre of action sports. The two companies will produce TV shows, DVDs, films and stage a national college tour combining National Lampoon's comedy with Planet X's coverage of extreme sports.
And Nara Bancorp Inc. rose 3 percent to $15.29 after the L.A.-based holding company's stock was raised to "buy" from "sell" by analyst Michael P. McMahon at Sandler O'Neill & Partners, LP. The 12-month price target was set at $17.00 per share. Nara's stock tumbled last week after it announced that it had to restate its 2002 earnings and that it had made changes to its management and board. Since then, though, its stock has been successively upgraded by analysts.
On the down side, shares of Unocal Corp. lost 7.4 percent to $59.60 after ChevronTexaco, the second-largest U.S. integrated oil company, agreed to pay $62 a share to buy El Segundo-based Unocal a 3.7 percent discount off Friday's close of $64.35 a share. And Unocal's stock was downgraded to "neutral" from "buy" by analyst Duane Grubert at Fulcrum Global Partners.
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