Shares of Dow component Caterpillar rose 2.83 percent despite disappointing first quarter results. Microsoft Corp. did even better, up 3.5 percent, after Valueact, a hedge fund, said it had taken a $2 billion stake in the software giant.
The Dow was split with 18 components making headway and 12 headed south. JP Morgan Chase analyst Stephen Tusa shifted General Electric from "buy" to a hold rating due to falling revenues, The Street reported.
GE led Dow declines, falling 1.84 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed with a modest gain of 19.66 points, up 0.14 percent to 14,567.17. The S&P 500 added 7.25 points or 0.47 percent to 1,562.50. The Nasdaq index of tech-dominated stock gained 27.50 points or 0.86 percent to 3,233.55.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,764 stocks advanced and 1,271 declined on a volume of 2.9 billion shares traded.
Gold pulled ahead for the third consecutive trading session, up $30.10 to $1,425.70 per troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. NYMEX West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at $88.81 per barrel, up 80 cents.
The 10-year U.S. treasury note rose 4/32 to yield 1.607 percent.
Against the dollar, the euro was lower at $1.3065 from Friday's $1.3079. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 99.28 yen from 99.82 yen.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1.89 percent or 251.89 points to 13,568.37. The FTSE 100 index in Britain shed 0.09 percent or 5.97 points to 6,280.62.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, corn for July delivery gave up 9.5 cents to $6.235 per bushel. July soybeans dropped 18.5 cents to $13.64 and July wheat lost 9 cents to $7.025.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]