The Nasdaq remains far below its record closing high of 5,048.62, hit March 10, 2000, before the dot-com bubble popped.
The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes reached the highest level since April 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors. Back then, a tax credit for buying houses had lifted sales. In a separate report, the government said Americans' spending and income both edged up last month.
A handful of companies reported earnings on Monday. Eaton Corp.'s quarterly net income beat Wall Street's estimates, helped by its acquisition of Cooper Industries, an electrical equipment supplier. But the manufacturer's revenue fell short. Its stock climbed 3 percent, or $1.63, to $60.28.
Eaton's results followed a larger pattern this earnings season. Of the 274 companies that have turned in results, seven of 10 have beaten analysts' estimates for earnings, according to S&P Capital IQ. But when it comes to revenue, six of 10 have missed estimates. That suggests companies are squeezing more profits out of cost cutting, instead of higher sales.
The stocks of Moody's and McGraw-Hill, which owns Standard & Poor's, surged following news that the ratings agencies settled lawsuits dating back to the financial crisis that accused them of concealing risky investments. McGraw-Hill gained 3 percent, or $1.45, to $53.45, while Moody's jumped 8 percent, or $4.57, to $59.69, the biggest gain in the S&P 500.
In the market for government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped from 1.67 late Friday to 1.66 percent, close to its low for the year.
AP Business Writer Bernard Condon contributed to this report.