By Kristina Peterson NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks climbed modestly on Monday as a stable credit-rating agency outlook on the U.K. boosted confidence in the global economic recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 27 points in early trading, led by a 0.9% rise in AT&T. American Express rose 0.6%, while Home Depot (HD) gained 0.7% ahead of housing data expected at 10 a.m. The Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) rose 0.2% to 2321. The Standard & Poor's 500-share index added 0.2% to 1128. Telecommunications companies pulled ahead early Monday, while materials lagged. The Dow rose 0.2% to 10634. Helping to bolster confidence in the global economic recovery, Moody's Investors Service retained its stable outlook on the U.K. Monday, saying the country's current Aaa rating should remain safe if the fiscal consolidation plan set forward by the government in June stays on target. Gold prices continued to hit fresh highs Monday, amid speculation of further quantitative easing ahead of Tuesday's meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy-making committee. Spot gold prices climbed above $1283 per troy ounce. The flurry of deal activity in the fast-consolidating technology industry continued, as International Business Machines (IBM) agreed to acquire data specialist Netezza (NZ) in a deal valued at $1.78 billion, as Big Blue expands its analytics business. IBM edged up 0.4%, while Netezza jumped 12%. L-1 Identity Solutions, which designs identification systems that recognize finger prints and eye iris patterns, rose 20% after French aerospace and defense group Safran agreed to buy the company for $1.09 billion, or $12 a share. Home builder Lennar (LEN) gained 4.6% after reporting a return to profitability in the fiscal third quarter, as its earnings beat analysts' forecast. Shares of oil giant BP (B) crept up 0.4% after the company said over the weekend that its Macondo oil well was officially declared dead. Demand for Treasurys was mixed, with the two-year note (UST2YR) flat, and the 10-year note (UST10Y) up to push its yield down to 2.72%. The U.S. dollar weakened against the yen, but strengthened against the euro. Crude-oil prices rose above $75 a barrel. Still to come, the National Association of Home Builders will release its September housing-market index at 10 a.m. EDT.