U.S. stocks closed higher Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average surging more than 200 points -- snapping a seven-day losing streak -- its longest in four years. Wall Street rallied on merger and acquisition activity, while a rebound in oil prices boosted the energy sector 3 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) soared 241.79 points, or 1.4 percent, to close at 17,615.17. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (INDEXSP:.INX) added 26.61 points, or 1.28 percent, to end at 2,104.18. And the Nasdaq composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 58.25 points, or 1.16 percent, to finish at 5,101.80.
Nine of the 10 S&P 500 sectors traded higher, led by gains in energy and industrials, which rallied 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
Energy stocks rallied higher, with Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) each gaining more than 2 percent, as oil prices snapped a three-day losing streak.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, the benchmark for U.S. oil prices, gained 2.5 percent to $44.96 per barrel for September delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On the London ICE Futures Exchange, Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil prices, added 3.6 percent to $50.39.
The industrials sector also rallied higher thanks to billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who inked his biggest acquisition deal ever Monday. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. struck a deal to buy Precision Castparts Corp. for $37.2 billion, sending shares of the aerospace supplier soaring 19 percent to close at $230.92.
The utilities sector was the only decliner in the S&P 500 index Monday, edging lower following comments from two top Federal Reserve officials that signaled the central bank could lift interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade in September.
“Fed Chair Janet Yellen has stated she expects conditions to jell, justifying a start to policy normalization sometime later this year. I agree. I think the point of liftoff is close,” Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart said in prepared remarks for an address to the Atlanta Press Club.
The statement came just hours after Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said U.S. inflation is temporarily "very low" due to commodity prices, and won’t persist as the economy nears full employment.
Following the statements, the yield on the 10-year rose to 2.24 as investor expectations for a rate hike as early as September rose. The rise in yields helped push interest-rate-sensitive sectors lower, with utilities falling 0.5 percent.
Dow components Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) led the index higher, gaining nearly 3.8 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. Beverage maker Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE:KO) was the only decliner in the index, down 0.2 percent.
Economists are looking ahead to Tuesday’s economic calendar, which includes the Labor Department’s second-quarter estimates of productivity of nonfarm workers, which measures the output of goods and services per hour worked, due out at 8:30 a.m. EDT. The Commerce Department will release its monthly wholesale inventories report for June at 10 a.m. EDT.