Nasdaq Ends Holiday Trading Session at 16-Month High

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:21 PM EDT

( - Despite light trading due to the Columbus Day holiday, all three major markets gained ground on Monday, with the Nasdaq Composite index reaching its highest level in the past 16 months.

The tech-oriented Nasdaq rose 18.22 points to reach 1,933.53, that market's highest close since March 31, 2002, when the index stood at 1,929.49. Also rising in the first trading session of the new week was the Dow Jones industrial average, which picked up 89.70 points to 9,764.38, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which climbed 7.28 points to 1,045.34.

Good news came early when Motorola reported quarterly earnings double what analysts had expected. The second-largest mobile-phone maker also forecast strong sales in its current fourth quarter.

"People are feeling pretty good about the Motorola earnings," Mark Donahoe, managing director at US Bancorp Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis, told CNN. "There also was an upgrade of the software sector by Lehman Brothers, which helped things...But it's hard to draw real trends today because of the low volume."

With the U.S. Treasury bond market closed for Columbus Day and Japan's markets shut down for that country's Health and Sports Day holiday, investors focused on hopes that Motorola's strong earnings would be repeated in other third-quarter reports due throughout the week.

Big-name companies reporting results in the next few days will include Intel, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, General Motors, Altria Group, Coca Cola and Caterpillar.

Also this week, key economic data to be released will include September U.S. retail sales, jobless claims for the week ended Oct. 11, the U.S. Consumer Price Index for September and a report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank on October manufacturing conditions.

Finally, the good news wasn't restricted to U.S. stocks. European markets were also up in Monday trading, with Germany's DAX index gaining 2.1 percent, France's CAC-40 advancing 1.6 percent and Britain's FTSE 100 rising 1.2 percent.

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