SIZZLING JULY: The stock market ended July with its biggest monthly gain since January. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.95 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average gained 3.96 percent.
KNOCKING ON THE DOOR: The S&P 500 index came within two points of breaching the 1,700 level for the first time after the Federal dropped hints that it might need to maintain its stimulus and slightly downgraded its assessment of U.S. economic growth from "moderate" to "modest."
VIRUS PROTECTION: Symantec, which makes Norton antivirus software, was among the standouts. The stock surged $2.33, or 9.6 percent, to $26.68 after it reported earnings and revenue that beat analysts' forecasts.