Stocks rise sharply on dealmaking, new data

NEW YORK - Corporate deals and fresh evidence of a stronger economy gave the stock market a jolt Monday.

LSI Corp. rose after chipmaker Avago Technologies said it was buying the company for $6.6 billion. AIG was up after it announced the sale of its aircraft leasing business for about $5.4 billion.

The Federal Reserve says factory production accelerated in November as car production surged. The gains show manufacturing is strengthening and could help boost growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 129.21 to close at 15,884.57. The S&P 500 index climbed 11.22 to 1,786.54. The Nasdaq rose 28.54 to 4,029.52.

The stock market has ended with weekly declines for two straight weeks.

Boeing to boost stock buyback plan by $10B

CHICAGO - Boeing Co. said Monday that its board of directors approved a $10 billion increase in its stock buyback program. The aircraft maker will also raise its quarterly dividend payment by about 50 percent.

CEO Jim McNerney said the moves reflect operational performance, increasing cash flow and confidence in the future.

The increase in the share buyback program is in addition to the $800 million remaining authority in Boeing's current stock repurchase program. Boeing will resume buying back its own stock in January and it expects repurchases to be made over the next two to three years.

The company said it has declared a quarterly dividend of 73 cents per share.

The company is a major employer in the Charleston region.

AP-GfK poll: Americans see end of stock surge

NEW YORK - Americans aren't expecting another bang-up year for the stock market, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

Of the people polled, 40 percent think the market will stabilize where it is now by the end of 2014, with 39 percent predicting that it will drop, but not crash. Only 14 percent believe the market will rise and 5 percent think it will crash.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index has surged 24.5 percent to 1,775 in 2013, putting it on track for its best year in a decade. The rally has been fueled by higher corporate earnings, a slow but steady recovery in the U.S. economy and stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

Foreign holdings of US government debt rises

WASHINGTON - Foreign buyers of U.S. Treasury securities increased their holdings for a third month in October, despite budget battles in Washington that shut down the government for 16 days that month.

The Treasury Department says total foreign holdings edged up 0.01 percent in October to $5.65 trillion after a 1 percent gain in September. Holdings had fallen from April through July, likely reflecting concerns about rising interest rates. In October, holdings were 1.2 percent below the record high of $5.72 trillion reached in March.

China, the largest foreign buyer of Treasury debt, boosted its holdings 0.8 percent in October to $1.3 trillion. Japan, the second-largest buyer, trimmed its holdings 0.3 percent to $1.17 trillion.

SC call center to create hundreds of new jobs

MYRTLE BEACH - A company that provides call center support for other businesses is locating a call center near Myrtle Beach and is expected to create more than 660 jobs in five years.

State and local economic development officials on Monday announced that STARTEK Inc. will be in a new building being built in the Carolina Forest area just west of Myrtle Beach.

The building is expected to be ready next fall. Until then, STARTEK will operate out of temporary space at Horry Georgetown Technical College. The company begins hiring next month.

The total project investment is estimated to be about $10 million. Studies by economists at Coastal Carolina University estimate the new operation will have a total economic impact of more than $45 million.

Staff and wire reports