Stocks Rally on Earnings, M&A News

Growing optimism on a Mideast cease-fire also boosted investor sentiment

Nascent optimism about a ceasefire in the Israel-Lebanon conflict and some solid corporate earnings were just the tonic the stock market needed Monday. Stocks finished sharply higher on the session, bolstered by solid earnings reports and buzzing deal news. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's arrival in Beirut to seek an Israel-Hezbollah ceasefire also supported stocks, while a busy week for earnings may cause volatility in the days ahead,says Standard & Poor's Equity Research.

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