9:00am (EST)

The bulls went into Monday morning with little earnings or economic news but had a few catalysts that helped them push the market higher throughout the day.  Although the gains were limited, the major averages did manage to hit multi-year highs on M&A news before a late-day push by the bears got things back to even.

General Electric (GE, $17.62, down $0.10) made a $1.3 billion bid for U.K. oil pipe maker, Wellstream Holdings, while Dell (DELL, $13.35, down $0.54) anted-up $885 million for Compellent Technologies (CML, $27.98, down $0.73) which fell nearly 3% after investors had bid up the shares in anticipation of the announcement.

Dell had launched an unsuccessful bid for Compellent rival 3Par back in August and wanted more exposure in the storage industry after Hewlett-Packard (HPQ, $41.65, down $0.89) trumped them with a $2.35 billion offer for 3Par.

The Dow gained 18 points, or 0.2%, to settle at 11,428 but traded to a high of 11,480.  The break above 11,450 was bullish even though we closed off the highs.

The S&P 500 was up less than a point but finished at 1,240 for the second straight session after reaching a high of 1,246.  We are targeting 1,250 for the next leg up with support at 1,220-1,200.

The Nasdaq, however, failed to hold its gains after touching a high of 2,645 and ended at 2,624 – down 12 points, or 0.5%.   

There is a lot of news to digest this morning and we will cover the latest in earnings and economic news in our afternoon update.

As we head to press, Dow futures are up 16 points to 11,382 while the S&P 500 futures are higher by 2 points to 1,239.  The Nasdaq 100 futures are showing a 3 point pop and are at 2,213.  Subscribers, check the Members Area for the latest trade updates.