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After crossing 2,000, record-high close for S&P 500

by  |

U.S. stocks rallied on Monday, with the S&P 500 crossing 2,000 for the first time, lifted by a round of corporate deals and optimism that the European Central Bank would embark on further moves to stimulate the European economy.
"I've got the bottle ready to open," said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices, referring to a 1998 Dom Perignon champagne that he plans to pop when the S&P 500 finishes above the milestone.
"Closing above 2,000 would be a bit more significant because then you can bounce from there; it gives people a sense of confidence more than anything else; it's a psychological mark, not a technical mark," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.
"It's important that we made it; it's a milestone, but more importantly is it's a good time to review where you've been and where you're going; that's the true take away for the individual, as institutions should be doing it anyway," said Silverblatt.
Remarks Friday by ECB President Mario Draghi at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, meeting of central bankers heightened expectations of additional policy easing.
Monday's gains are largely due to "Mr. Draghi's comments, his assurances that the European Union is as dedicated to keeping their markets as healthy as we are, it gave the market an excuse to test that 2,000 level," said Kinahan.
Burger King Worldwide is in talks to combine with Tim Hortons and moves its headquarters to Canada. Switzerland's Roche Holding has agreed to acquire U.S. biotechnology company InterMune for $8.3 billion in cash.
Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
DJIADow Jones Industrial Average17076.87
 
75.650.44%
S&P 500S&P 500 Index1997.92
 
9.520.48%
NASDAQNasdaq Composite Index4557.35
 
18.800.41%
After a 123-point jump, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 75.65 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,076.87, with JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs Group leading blue-chip gains that extended to 24 of 30 components.
Furthering its climb into uncharted terrain and topping the 2,000 mark, theS&P 500 advanced 9.52 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,997.92, with financials pacing sector gains.
The Nasdaq gained 18.80 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,557.35.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a gauge of investor uncertainty, turned higher, up 2 percent to 11.7.
"The VIX is telling us the market has discounted geopolitical-type risks; the Russian-Ukraine situation hasn't gone away, but as long as it remains the status quo, the market will continue to discount it," Kinahan said.
For every two share falling, more than three rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where nearly 494 million shares traded. Composite volume surpassed 2.2 billion.
Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Getty Images
Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
The dollar gained against other global currencies, including the euro; the10-year Treasury yield dropped 2 basis points to 2.385 percent.
Dollar-denominated commodities including gold and oil declined, withgold futures for December delivery falling $1.30 to $1,278.90 an ounce and crude futures for October down 30 cents to $93.35 a barrel.
Monday's economic reports included data from the Commerce Department, which showed sales of new single-family homes falling for a second consecutive month in July.
"Housing is the area where we've seen the most split personality, we get three to four numbers, and they all show something different. But one number does not a trend make," said Kinahan.
A survey from financial-data firm Markit had the pace of growth in the nation's services sector declining for a second month in August, while a gauge of U.S. economic activity from the Chicago Federal Reserve illustrating expansion above historical trends.
On Friday, stocks mostly fell, with the S&P 500 halting a four-session win streak that lifted it to a record, as investors weighed rising tension between Russia and Ukraine and speeches by the ECB's Draghi and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

Jimmy Carter To Give Keynote Speech At Muslim Convention In Detroit


by  Paul Bois
On Monday, The Toledo Blade reported that former President Jimmy Carter, the same President who accused Israel of practicing apartheid and called for the U.S to "legitimize" Hamas, will be giving the keynote speech at the 51st annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) held in Detroit this Friday, September 1st.
The speech will be held at a luncheon August 30th.
That very same evening, a session will be held titled, "Generations Rise: Elevating Muslim-American Culture," the same title as the conference's theme, where ISNA's outgoing President, Imam Mohamed Magid and four other Muslim speakers will offer ideas on Muslim-American advancement over the next five years. A "secret special guest" is also billed to appear; no indications are made whether that will be Carter or not.
At the convention's opening session Friday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, the national leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will make remarks. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim member of Congress, will also be speaking Saturday.

Soros, Steyer Spend Big in Bid to Rescue Democrats' Majority

BY  AND


August 22, 2014 Super PACs spent July beefing up for the fall campaign. Many groups filed new disclosure reports this week, leaving a paper trail littered with big checks from big names.
Democrats dominate the list of notable July donors, as there have simply been more Democratic dollars flowing to that type of outside group this year. There's still plenty of conservative money out there; it's just that more of it is going toward nonprofits, which don't have to disclose their donors. Here are a handful of July super PAC donations that stood out.
STEYER: Climate-change activist Tom Steyer gave the biggest super PAC donation in this month's reports: $7.5 million to his own group, NextGen Climate. Steyer, who made his fortune as a successful hedge-fund manager, also spread some of that money around. NextGen gave a half-million dollars to Senate Majority PAC, the biggest Senate Democratic super PAC, and $150,000 to the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, another environmental group.
BLOOMBERG: Michael Bloomberg is staying plenty active in his post-mayoral days. Aside from funding his gun-control-focused super PAC, Bloomberg has written checks to Senate Majority PAC and super PACs that backed GOP Sens. Thad Cochran and Lindsey Graham during their primary battles. Most recently, the former New York City mayor donated $2 million to Women Vote!—the largest contribution the EMILY's List super PAC has ever received. Only Steyer has given more money to super PACs this election season.
SOROS: Democratic financier George Soros's checkbook has been active this summer: The prolific donor gave $500,000 apiece to House Majority PAC and the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund. But that million dollars wasn't his family's only big outlay so far this summer. Soros's daughter, Andrea Soros Colombel, gave $250,000 to Planned Parenthood Votes.
SINGER: Hedge-fund manager Paul Singer is the top super PAC donor on the Republican side so far this election cycle, and he kept the money flowing last month. The Elliott Management founder dished out $750,000 to the conservative super PAC Ending Spending Action Fund, which has spent a total of nearly $4.5 million in five different races in 2014. Singer also gave $100,000 to the GOP's best-known spending juggernaut, American Crossroads. Singer has now contributed a total of $1.4 million to Ending Spending and $1.35 million to Crossroads this cycle.
MOSTYN: Amber Mostyn is half of Texas's biggest Democratic power couple. The Houston lawyer and her husband Steve were among Democrats' biggest super PAC donors in 2012, when the The New York Times Magazine used the story of the Mostyns' $1 million gift to Priorities USA Action to explain the role and rise of the pro-Obama super PAC. In July, Amber Mostyn gave $250,000 to the Planned Parenthood super PAC, matching the quarter-million she gave the committee in 2013.
BERGMAN: After giving $1 million to American Crossroads in 2012, Jay Bergman, the owner of Illinois-based Petco Petroleum, remained relatively quiet on the outside-money front. But In July, he ponied up to Crossroads again, cutting a $500,000 check to the super PAC. Bergman gives mostly to Republicans. But he casts himself as an "independent," and he's contributed to Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich, in the past.
SABAN: Billionaire Univision owner Haim Saban has already pledged his "full might" to Hillary Clinton if she runs for president in 2016, but he's keeping busy in the meantime. Saban gave $250,000 to Senate Majority PAC in July.
SCHMIDT: Another $250,000 donation came to Senate Majority PAC via Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. Unlike most of the donors on this list, Schmidt eschewed super PACs in 2012, but this is his second major contribution of 2014. Back in June, Schmidt gave $100,000 to the super PAC formed to support Democratic Sen. Mark Warner's reelection in Virginia this year.
ANGELOS: Other Democratic donors may have given more money than the $100,000 Senate Majority PAC got from the Law Offices of Peter Angelos. But few other donors have jobs as cool. When he's not financing Democratic super PACs, Angelos can be found bankrolling free agent signings as the owner of the Baltimore Orioles.
OTHER PACS: Some of the biggest donations made in July went from one PAC to another. In addition to the donations Steyer's group made, Senate Majority PAC also contributed $350,000 to the League of Conservation Voters super PAC last month. And two of the biggest donations to House Majority PAC came from the Blue Dog PAC and the New Democrat Coalition PAC, two groups representing moderate or conservative House Democrats. They combined to give $350,000 to House Majority PAC.


China urges U.S. to stop close-in surveillance


BEIJING, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Defense Ministry here on Saturday urged the U.S. side to stop close-in surveillance of China, and create a sound atmosphere for bilateral military ties.
The ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in a statement that one U.S. anti-submarine plane and one patrol aircraft flew to an airspace about 220 kilometers east of China's Hainan Island to conduct close-in surveillance Tuesday morning, and then a Chinese fighter jet took off to make regular identification and verification.
Commenting on relevant criticism made by the U.S. side, Yang said that was "totally groundless," as the Chinese pilot, with professional operation, kept the jet within a safe distance from the U.S. aircraft.
It was U.S. massive and frequent close-in surveillance of China that endanger the two sides' air and marine security, and is the root of accidents, he said.
China urged the U.S. side to abide by international law and international practice, respect concerns of the coastal countries, and properly deal with the differences between the two sides on air and marine security issues, he said.
Yang said that the U.S. side should follow the principle of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, take concrete actions, reduce and finally stop close-in surveillance of China, so as to create a sound atmosphere for bilateral military ties.

Chicago A Top Terror Target; Ominous Tweet Connects ISIS Threat In City « CBS Chicago

Chicago A Top Terror Target; Ominous Tweet Connects ISIS Threat In City « CBS Chicago

Defense Secretary: 'The World is Exploding All Over'

BY JERYL BIER

Fresh off a trip to India and Australia, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel addressed a group of Marines in San Diego, California Tuesday, and may have delivered a line that will show up in Republican campaign ads this election cycle. After updating the troops on some issues in the Pacific region and the Middle East, Hagel took questions from some of the Marines and gave a stark assessment of the global security situation: "The world is exploding all over." The remark came in response to a question about the Obama administration's realignment of the military towards the Asia-Pacific theater:
Q: Good afternoon, sir. My question is that, given that the administration's primary focus is on the Pacific theater, how has all of the issues popping up in the world today, Russia, Iraq, Africa, the rest of the theaters pretty much affected that current mission? And how do you foresee that affecting the mission in the future? 
SEC. HAGEL: Thank you. That's a -- go ahead, sit down -- that's a question I got often when I was in India and Australia. And the trip I just came from was my sixth trip to the Asia Pacific area in the last year-and-a-half. I've got four planned this calendar year. And so I get that question all the time. It's a legitimate question for the very reasons you asked. 
The world is exploding all over. And so is the United States going to continue to have the resources, the capabilities, the leadership, the bandwidth to continue with the rebalance toward the Asia Pacific? And the answer is yes.
Hagel went on say that, despite the rebalancing towards the Pacific, the US will not be "retreating" from any threats elsewhere in the world.