NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market notched another record close Monday after a big acquisition in the food industry. Hope for a longer-term budget deal in Washington also helped. Food distributor Sysco rose the most in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index after the company announced an agreement to buy rival US Foods in an $8.2 billion deal. Sysco’s stock jumped $3.31, or 9.7 percent, to $37.62.
Stocks extended a rally from Friday that was driven by a report of solid U.S. job gains. That boosted investor confidence that the economy was growing strongly enough to handle any pullback in the Federal Reserve’s economic stimulus.
“We’re just continuing the bullishness that we’ve had,” said Rex Macey, Chief Investment Officer of Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors, a unit of Wilmington Trust Bank.
The S&P 500 index climbed 3.28 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,808.37. That put the index a point above its previous record close of 1,807.23 set November 27.
Other indexes also made small gains.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 5.33 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 16,025.53. The Nasdaq composite increased 6.23 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,068.75.
Stocks were also supported by reports that U.S. lawmakers were moving closer to reaching a longer-term budget deal, said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Wealth Management Group.
Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said Sunday on ABC that budget negotiations are making progress and moving in the right direction.
The stock market stuttered in October after political wrangling over the budget caused a 16-day partial government shutdown that crimped economic growth and hurt consumer confidence.
A budget deal “could be viewed as positive, in the sense that it is putting to bed one more possible disruption,” Stone said.
In other corporate news, American Airlines rose 65 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $24.60 on the company’s first day of trading after completing its merger with US Airways.