This story was updated at 4:10 p.m. EST.
U.S. stocks gained Monday as a rebound in commodity prices lifted investors’ spirits. European mining giants were among the best performers in the first trading session of the week as traders, emboldened by an oil price rally, searched for bargains.
“We started the year with a punch to the face a few days in a row,” JJ Kinahan, chief strategist for TD Ameritrade, said Monday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “People who were sort of waiting have come back into the market over the last couple of days.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) closed Monday up 228.67 points, or 1.4 percent, to 16,620.66 on Monday afternoon. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index (INDEXSP:.INX) gained 27.72, or 1.45 percent, to 1,945.5. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 66.18 points, or 1.47 percent, to 4,570.61.
Both the S&P and Dow are down about 9 percent from their recent peaks in early November and about 6 percent for the year. But neither are close to bear market levels, defined as a 20 percent drop from a previous peak.
“We expect [U.S. stocks] to make more headway as the news from China improves, and do not think that its prior slide heralds an economic downturn,” John Higgins, chief market economist for Capital Economics, said in a note Monday. “Of course, the S&P 500 could yet plunge to new lows. But it has already rebounded about 6 percent from its trough, and we think it is more likely to continue to climb.”
All 10 S&P 500 sectors closed up Monday, led by energy and consumer discretionary stocks.
‘Safe Harbor’ Bets
The yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield rose to 1.765 after ending Friday at 1.748. The bond yield typically rises when investors are more confident about the markets and falls when concerns flare. Gold, another so-called safe harbor investment, shed 1.88 percent to $1,207.70 per troy ounce. Gold prices tend to fall as confidence in the markets rises.
Oil prices rebounded overnight as futures traders bet that sentiment for stabilizing oil prices is rising after Saudi Arabia and Russia pledged to freeze output at current levels. OPEC General Secretary Abdalla Salem El-Badri was scheduled to speak at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston on Monday. The annual confab includes Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi, who hasn’t attended since 2009.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate was up 6.95 percent to $31.70 per barrel for March delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the other major global benchmark, rose 5.24 percent to $34.74 for April delivery on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
Asian markets finished higher Monday, but uncertainties about the global economy linger. “Markets remain unsure of themselves. While the brief rally in risk assets early last week helped soothe sentiment a little, there remains much uncertainty about what will follow," Citigroup analysts said in a note Monday.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed Monday up 0.9 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.93 percent. The China mainland’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index gained 2.2 percent, helped by a small rally in energy stocks. South Korea’s Kospi Index ticked up a slight 0.01 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.98 percent.
European shares closed Monday to modest gains. The broad Stoxx Europe 600 index was up 1.64 percent. The Paris-based CAC 40 advanced 1.79 percent, while London’s FTSE was up 1.47 percent. Frankfurt’s DAX rose 1.98 percent.
All Dow 30 components except for Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) ended the session up, led by strong gains from aerospace giant United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), health insurance major UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH), heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) and oil and gas concern Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX).
AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN) shares rallied after the automotive retailer announced a $250 million stock-buyback program.
Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) stock jumped after the bank announced it would begin offering a new home-mortgage product that accepts 3 percent down payments.
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) shares gained after announcing it’s cancelling its $1.6 billion investment in Brazil, which is in a deep recession.
Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ:GRPN) stock continued its rally form Friday on rumors China’s ecommerce giant Alibaba might buy a stake or takeover the online local commerce marketplace.
Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. (NYSE:LL) shares plummeted after the Centers for Disease Control reversed an earlier conclusion by saying select laminate flooring samples from the company have three times the risk of causing cancer than previously stated.