NEW YORK, May 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed higher after a narrowly fluctuating session Monday to begin the week on a positive note, as tech shares led the gains on short covering.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 20.55 points, or 0.12 percent, to 16,511.86. The broader S&P 500 increased 7.22 points, or 0.38 percent, to 1,885.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 35. 23 points, or 0.86 percent, to 4,125.81.
Wall Street opened little changed before presenting a seesaw trading session, as there were no big catalysts dictating the market in absence of major economic data due out Monday.
The stock market, however, regained a little bit steam later, underpinned by renewed buying on momentum stocks and small caps which had undergone a serious correction in the past couple of months.
Tesla Motors' shares rallied 2.36 percent to 196.09 U.S. dollars, roughly two weeks after having dived more than 30 percent from its peak in early March.
Merger and acquisition deals came out mixed, failing to provide many upward jolts to the market.
AT&T agreed Sunday to acquire the largest U.S. satellite TV provider DIRECTV in a stock-and-cash transaction for 95 dollars per share, or 48.5 billion dollars in total equity value, based on AT&T's closing prices Friday. The agreement has been approved unanimously by the boards of directors of both companies, according to a joint statement issued by both companies.
The deal came after Comcast Corporation's acquisition of Time Warner Cable for 45.2 billion dollars announced in February, which is still awaiting regulatory approval.
AT&T, a Dow component, saw its shares fall 0.98 percent to 36. 38 dollars apiece, the biggest laggard of the blue-chip index.
Also on the day, the board of British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC rejected the improved 119-billion-dollar takeover offer from U.S. drug maker Pfizer, saying "the proposal undervalues the company and its attractive prospects." However, Pfizer's shares advanced 0. 55 percent to 29.28 dollars.
Moreover, San Francisco Fed President John Williams said the Federal Reserve is moving toward normalizing its monetary policy, adding the U.S. central bank is poised to hike interest rates probably some time next year. The remarks were largely in consistent with market expectations, thus barely moving the market.
Last week, the U.S. stock market posted choppy trading, with the blue-chip Dow and the broader S&P 500 refreshing records in the first two days of the week before retreating on renewed selling pressure on small-cap shares amid overvaluation concerns.
The Dow and the S&P 500 closed lower last week, while the Nasdaq logged weekly gains.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a gauge of fear in the market, edged down 0.16 percent to end at 12.42 on Monday.
In other markets, the dollar traded mixed against major currencies and it weakened versus the Japanese yen amid gloomy global growth prospects.
In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.3713 dollars from 1.3697 dollars in the previous session. The U.S. dollar bought 101. 32 Japanese yen, lower than 101.52 yen of the previous session.
U.S. oil price gained as the market expected inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for contracts, to keep dropping. Light, sweet crude for June delivery edged up 59 cents to settle at 102.61 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose as the dollar showed weakness. The most active gold contract for June delivery rose 0.4 dollars, or 0.03 percent, to settle at 1293.8 dollars per ounce.