* S&P 500 less than 1 percent from record levels
* Hillshire to buy Pinnacle Foods for $6.6 billion
* Ukraine situation remains in focus after referendum
* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.7 pct, Nasdaq 1.2 pct
(Updates to market open)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, May 12 U.S. stocks rose on Monday,
with the Dow hitting another all-time high and the S&P 500
moving within 1 percent of its own record.
Gains were broad, with nine of the 10 primary S&P 500
sectors in positive territory. About 78 percent of stocks traded
on the New York Stock Exchange rose on the day while more than
three-fourths of Nasdaq-listed stocks gained.
The advance game despite ongoing geopolitical concerns in
the Ukraine after pro-Russian rebels voted in favor of self-rule
in eastern regions of the country in a referendum dismissed by
Kiev and Western governments as illegal. Separately, the
European Union is set to step up pressure on Russia by taking
steps to extend sanctions to companies, as well as individuals.
"The vote seemed like a negative, but the violence that many
thought would happen didn't, and at this point no news is good
news when it comes to Ukraine," said Channing Smith,
co-portfolio manager of the Capital Advisors Growth Fund at
Capital Advisors in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Internet and biotech names were among the strongest
advancers of the day. Biogen Idec gained 2.9 percent to
$294.92 while TripAdvisor Inc was up 2.9 percent to
$87.07. Both sectors - often described as "momentum" stocks due
to massive gains in recent months - have been wildly volatile in
recent sessions, moving on both concerns over valuation and
hopes for high levels of growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 97.13 points,
or 0.59 percent, at 16,680.47. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 12.91 points, or 0.69 percent, at 1,891.39. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 47.31 points, or 1.16
percent, at 4,119.18.
The S&P 500 is 0.3 percent from a record intraday high
reached on April 4. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap
stocks rose 1.3 percent. Last week, it flirted with correction
territory, dropping nearly 10 percent from its all-time closing
"It will be interesting to see whether we can hold above
1,900 on the S&P, since lately we've retreated anytime we near
that level," Smith said. "Our trading range has been very
narrow, with early rallies fading and early losses getting
Hillshire Brands Co agreed to buy Pinnacle Foods Inc
for about $6.6 billion. Pinnacle jumped 15 percent to
$34.94 while Hillshire fell 5.6 percent to $34.88.
Tesaro Inc jumped 17 percent to $28.13 after the
company said its experimental drug for the prevention of
chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting met the main goal in a
third late-stage trial.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)