Stocks manage meek gains, but Syria worries weigh

Stocks posted modest gains as upbeat data on global manufacturing (I, II, III) was neutralized by increased talk of a U.S. military strike against Syria, with key House Republicans signing on with Pres. Obama.

Microsoft (-4.5%) and Verizon (-2.8%) weighed on the Dow following their respective acquisitions of Nokia's main handset business and Vodafone's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless.

Gold futures gained 1.2% to $1,412/oz., silver futures spiked 3.4%, and copper jumped 2.4%; as a result, the materials sector finished among the day's leading stock sectors.

The yield on 10-year Treasurys jumped to 2.852% from 2.747% on Friday on strong manufacturing data, reaching an intraday high of 2.911%.

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