By JOSHUA FREED AP Business Writer
The stock market got a boost on Monday from mergers, homes, and phones.
Stocks posted their biggest gains in almost two months. Two big deals suggested growing confidence in the economy: Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus was sold for $6 billion, and Koch Industries bought electronics component maker Molex for $7.2 billion.
Homebuilding stocks were some of the biggest gainers in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index after Hovnavian Enterprises said home prices are rising and its backlog jumped almost 27 percent from a year earlier.
Hovnanian rose 11 cents, or 2.2 percent, to close at $5.15. PulteGroup, D.R. Horton and Lennar also gained. Homebuilder MDC Holdings rose $1.72, or 6.2 percent, to $29.37 after an upgrade from a Citi analyst.
Homebuilding stocks have had a volatile year. Investors have been bullish because the housing market is recovering, but worried that rising interest rates make mortgages more expensive for home buyers.
Apple rose. It’s expected to announce a new iPhone on Tuesday.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 140.62 points, or 1 percent, to 15,063.12. The Dow hit an all-time high of 15,658 on Aug. 2. But worries about Syria and rising interest rates pushed stocks down since then. The last time the Dow closed above 15,000 was Aug. 23.