Utilities, a popular industry sector in times of uncertainty, rose less than the rest of the market. The Dow Jones Utility Average, which tracks the performance of 15 utility companies, rose 0.7 percent on Monday versus the S&P 500's 1 percent gain.
Back in the U.S., investors got a dose of good news on economy.
The Federal Reserve said factory output rebounded in February after harsh winter storms caused a steep drop-off in January. Manufacturers produced more autos, home electronics and chemicals. The 0.6 percent rise was triple the increase that economists had expected.
"It's another small piece of evidence that the economy is beginning to thaw from the winter," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, which oversees $66 billion in assets.
The Federal Reserve will hold a two-day policy meeting starting Tuesday. Investors expect the central bank to pull back further on its bond-buying economic stimulus program, as it has done for the last two meetings. The Fed will announce its decision Wednesday.
In corporate news:
— Sears Holdings rose 83 cents, or 2 percent, to $44.84 after announcing that it planned to split off its Lands' End business.
— Rental car company Hertz Global rose $1.24, or 5 percent, to $27.22 on reports that the company was looking to sell its construction equipment rental business.
In currency trading, the dollar rose to 6.177 Chinese yuan, up 0.4 percent from late Friday — a sharp move for one currency on a single day. The yuan has reversed course recently after strengthening steadily for years. Analysts believe China's central bank is guiding the exchange rate lower against the dollar in an effort to discourage speculators from moving money into the country to profit from the yuan's rise.